Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Desiring a Better Country

From the poem, IN 1492, we learn that
“In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

Prior to 1492 the European world was unaware that the American continents existed. Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in an attempt to find an improved trading route from Spain to India. His discovery of the Americas sparked a European conquest, which led many people to search for a better country.

Those brave souls who wanted a better country laid the groundwork for much that we know and love about our country today. Many great churches have been founded in the last five hundred years.

I have been invited to preach during a homecoming service in the church where I grew up. Spring Hill Baptist Church is the church where I was nurtured in the faith, baptized, licensed to preach, married, and ordained as a minister. Last year, I preached part of my grandmother’s funeral in the church. Spring Hill is a grassroots, country church with a special place in my heart.

As I prepare to preach at Spring Hill, I am sorting through many childhood memories. In middle school, one of my teachers (who was also a member of my church) read the Bible to us each morning. Friday night football games started with a pastor praying for God’s protection. The community is changing. Just last week many parents were outraged because of a notice that they received from the principal. He regretfully stated that he would no longer be able to pray with the kids before they leave for field trips because a parent complained. The parent protested prayer because the principal prays in Jesus’ name.

For most of us, the principal’s note is old news. We might even be surprised that there are still places in our country where leaders pray in Jesus’ name. That part of American life is fading fast. I’m not waiting for a return to those days. We must look to the future. God has a far better life for us than even the best that this country has to offer.

Five hundred years later, we are still searching for a better country.

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:16.