We are in the midst of an election season and emotions are running high. Many Christians I have talked to are disgusted – unable to identify a candidate that they are able to fully stand behind. They are disillusioned with the political process. They are wondering how we got here as a country and how America can be restored to greatness.
The Christians of the 5th century would have expressed a similar sentiment. The Roman Empire was crumbling. Rome had been sacked by Alaric and the Visigoths in 410AD. And the ripple effects were felt throughout the Empire – even as far as North Africa. The pax romana (“peace of Rome”) was no more. Instead, lawlessness swept over the known world. There was looting and violence in the streets. Countless children were orphaned. Women were raped by the invading soldiers.
St. Augustine was the Bishop of Hippo in North Africa during this time of tumultuous change. His congregation was distraught and disillusioned. They had come to think that the Roman Empire was the very kingdom of God. Rome had endorsed Christianity as the official religion of the empire and Christians had experienced an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity.
But now it was gone and they had trouble making sense of it all. It was in response to these events that Augustine wrote one of his most significant works – The City of God. He reminded the believers that there were essentially two cities – the city of man and the city of God. Abraham was not seeking an earthly city or political empire. Rather he was seeking a city with foundations whose builder and maker was God (Heb. 11:10).
It is natural for us to feel disappointment and righteous anger over the plight of God’s creation. But we ought not to be distraught or disillusioned because our confidence is not in a political system or a human leader. Instead, our hope should be firmly fixed on the kingdom that God is establishing.
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