As a Canadian living in the United States, this weekend is kind of a big deal. Today is Canada Day, marking the signing of the British North America Act in 1867, which formed Canada out of three British colonies. And, of course, Monday is Independence Day, a big day for all y’all!

This weekend then provides an occasion for many of us to be thankful for the many privileges and blessings we have as a result of our nations and national identities. I’m grateful to be Canadian, and I’m grateful to live in the United States.

At the same time, this weekend might serve as a reminder for us that we live as “resident aliens,” citizens of a kingdom that is not of this world. On July 10, we will celebrate another baptism; baptism is an act that reorients our allegiances. We belong to Christ, and this relativizes all other allegiances—familial, national, etc. We’re still citizens of America or Canada, but our primary identity is that we are citizens of the kingdom of God. This reality frees us to serve and love our communities and nations well, without idolizing them, or depending upon them for our security and identity.

So this weekend, let’s express our gratitude for the blessing of living where we do; let’s barbecue and invite friends over. But, let us do so with our eyes firmly fixed upon the hope we have in Christ our Lord, and let us pray and look to serve this nation, as aliens and strangers here, to the glory of God.

In Christ, 

Peter Coelho