This morning continued my read through Revelation and got into more of the darker parts about 1/3 of the populations killed, 1/3 of the water becoming bitter, etc. As I listened to it (Dwell Bible app), I thought about how some want to see those things happen because of a form of interpreting what we read in Revelation. It reminded me of something else I heard in Rob Bell’s latest podcast where he said someone confronted him about why he never tells people the “bad news of the Gospel.”
That phrase – the “Bad news of the Gospel” is quite literally a contradiction. After all “Gospel” literally means “Good News.” So, the bad news of the good news? Doesn’t seem to fit. But yet that is what many people want to share of the Gospel but also what many people associate with followers of Jesus. So, how do we want to reflect ourselves to others? Do we want to be a community that focuses on fear or a community that focuses on hope? Do we want to focus on what is wrong with us or focus on what is ultimately beautiful at our core – that we are each created in God’s beautiful image?
The same question goes for us as Americans on this July 4th. How do we want to reflect ourselves to the rest of the world? Can we recognize that the reflection of America is different for people both inside and outside our country? For many, America reflects a place of hope and opportunity. But for many others, it reflects a history of oppression and subjugation. Can both co-exist with one another? I believe they can – I believe we can reflect the hope and opportunity that this country can be while at the same time honestly holding the reality of our history and our present. And as we honor both, we are able to move forward in a manner that can lift up all rather than just some.
I am so grateful to live in this country and for all that is has offered me and so many. But I also have to be honest with the experiences of others who have not had similar. I have to be cognizant of how I can be working not only to further life for me but to work for opportunities for all. So, for me today, I choose to try to reflect the very best of who God has made me to be, the very best of what it can be to be an American, and to try to honor the experiences of all.