February 22, 2005

God Bless America…and the Whole World

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 1:29 pm

This past Sunday, Pastor Tony Auer gave a sermon on the gospel text from the lectionary, which included the well-known John 3:16 verse. I found his sermon prophetic, and would like to share an excerpt that particularly moved me:

“For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son, so that all those who believe in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

We have all seen, and maybe we have on our car, a bumper sticker that says, “God Bless America”. What does that mean? America already has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. We have one of the highest standards of living in the world, we already consume two-thirds of the world’s natural resources. What does “God Bless America” mean? Bless us with more?

Yes, 3,000 Americans died in the World Trade Center and another 1400 have died in Iraq, and that is a tragedy. But that many people die in a week in Africa due to genocide, AIDS and starvation. Over 250,000 persons died because of the tsunami. When we say “God Bless America”, are we being exclusive? Wouldn’t we like God to bless Africa, and bring an end to genocide, war and starvation? Wouldn’t we like God to bless the survivors and the victims of the tsunami? Wouldn’t we like God to bless the Iraqi people who have suffered far greater loss than we have? If God so loved the world, wouldn’t we want God to bless the whole world, with no exceptions?

Keep your God Bless America bumper sticker, but maybe you should add to it: God Bless America…and the whole world, no exceptions.

For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son, that through him all people of the world might have life and salvation. The Son is sent out of love. The purpose of the Son’s mission is not condemnation of those outside the “club”, but salvation for all the people of the world. God comes to us to bring us life not death. To bring us life now and in the future.

5 Comments

  1. Amen,and amen.

    Comment by N_A — February 25, 2005 @ 5:33 pm

  2. Aren’t you narrowly interpreting that sticker? I suspect many of the people with that sticker give plenty of money to groups that minister to millions around the world. Isn’t it ok to ask for blessings at home that aren’t material, like less violence and drugs?

    Comment by JasonB — February 25, 2005 @ 9:47 pm

  3. Jason –

    Yes, of course people with a God Bless America bumper sticker do many good works for those in need here and around the world, and of course its okay to ask for God’s blessing. I think Pastor Auer was arguing against the American triumphalism that equates America with God’s will, that believes America is the New Jerusalem, that America can do no wrong. In my view, American needs God’s blessing and God’s forgiveness, just as every American needs God’s blessing and forgiveness. And so does every nation and every person in the rest of the world. That’s why Jesus came.

    Comment by Bob — February 27, 2005 @ 3:41 pm

  4. Great post!

    Comment by erinberry — March 2, 2005 @ 1:40 pm

  5. Why would God bless America? According to the bible, God blesses people and national groups that keep morally clean and obeys his commandments which are outlined in the bible-America does neither. Also, the bible says” it will be easier for camel to get through an eye of a needle, than a rich person to receive the kingdom of God.” If god wants you to receive his kingdom, then why would he give you an abundance of material things and money? Thats contradictory. When a person has money or a nice house, the first thing they say is “We are blessed”. But, if they get thay house or money taken away, like the people in Louisiana, then they say: “How could God allow this to happen”.

    God is only real and good to people when things are going well. When its not, he’s the most unloving, uncaring god. We need to reevauluate what we beleive in.

    Comment by brent — September 9, 2005 @ 8:07 am

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