To the precious few of us already sitting pretty enough to gripe about taxes, gas prices, and the economy, this image might make our blood run red, white, and blue. We're convinced that the reign of Jesus will mean abundant riches, final annihilation of terrorists, and great reward for all those who have killed and died for the holy cause of democracy.
To the rest of the world's populace, this image might make their blood turn hot and cold with terror and hatred. To them, the American flag (and the Jesus so closely associated with it) either precedes or follows a wake of tanks, snipers, death, and hunger. The return of Jesus could only mean a final triumph of power, ready to starve the hungry, kill the bleeding, and reward the rich.
I marvel at a God who condescends to be so grossly misrepresented by the ones He loved until death. Don't "normal" gods strike in anger when mere mortals tout lies in their names?
The Sermon on the Mount; The Beatitudes1When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5"Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
6"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
12"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.