God's blessing for all people in all countries in all parts of the world

It was definitely a festive atmosphere this week in the lobby of the Harrisburg (Pa.) International Airport. Brian was returning home from Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq and more than 100 military personnel and family members were there to greet him. Flags and red, white and blue balloons were everywhere.

There were signs, too. Along with the "Welcome Home" signs was one that said "God bless the USA" and another that simply said "Thank God."

Thank God? For Brian's save return, surely, but I had a sense the crowd was saying more than that, invoking God's blessing on America's war in Iraq and the success of our military.

Emotion filled the room as Brian strode through the gate. I was moved by this homecoming, too, but I found myself also thinking about the Iraqis Brian had left behind, equally loved by their families and friends but unable to "go home" and leave behind the violence and killing.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation says our country has invested billions of dollars to fight and win wars but has invested little to prevent conflict.

Standing in the airport, I had to wonder how this scene would be different if my country had invested differently for its encounter in Iraq. And how the situation in Iraq would be equally different.

The July 4 holiday is fast approaching. And I want to find ways to embrace the freedoms our country enjoys and celebrates and I want to help ensure these same freedoms are available to all in my community and across the nation.

But I also want to remember that, as a Christian, my first allegiance is to Jesus Christ, not to my nation. And I want to remember that God's blessing is for all people in all countries in all parts of the world.

God's blessing is available to all people - in America and Iraq, in Palestine and Israel, in Iran, North Vietnam, Colombia and Congo. Thank God!


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