Should we love our country? What if we don’t agree with its policies?
In our service for Adult Baptism*, we find these words: “The neighbor to be loved is not only individual people, but people in their group relationships. The larger the group, the greater our obligation to it. Our community, our country, the brotherhood of nations are larger neighbors; also our church, and other churches constituting the Lord’s kingdom on earth. So again is the Lord’s kingdom in heaven; and our highest neighbor is the Lord himself.”
Notice how we are responsible for all of these “degrees” of the neighbor, with our country comprising just a smaller part of that responsibility. Neither irrelevant nor all important, our country is an important part (but only a part) of our spiritual responsibility. In between the purely personal and the purely cosmic; the messy world of relating to others. A world of dialogue and debate, of speaking and listening, of argument (in the best sense of that word) and compromise. Additionally, our church calls us to be active in all three realms of life: spiritual, moral, and civil. That is, we must cultivate our relationship to God, treat others with respect, and participate in politics on all levels.
*Source: “Book of Worship – prepared for the use of the Church of the New Jerusalem”; New Church Board of Publication, New York City, 1950; page 176.
Meet Rev. Robert E. McCluskey
Rev. Robert E. McCluskey holds a B.A. and M.A. in philosophy, and is a graduate of the Swedenborg School of Religion. He was ordained into the Swedenborgian Church of North America in 1984. He has pastored churches in Portland, ME and New York City, and for 18 years served as representative to the National Council of Churches, with specific attention to the work of social justice and religious freedom. He currently administers rites and sacraments at Wayfarers Chapel.