As I processed "How has attending Willow Creek Chicago made me a better American", it forced me to step out from under my "Worship Pastor" hat.
We gather every Sunday in community, from different parts of the city. Many of us came from different parts of the country initially and some from different parts of the world. We gather for several reasons...but the main being lifting up the name of Jesus…and celebrating the fact that through the sacrifice of Jesus, we are all part of God’s vast Kingdom. And that Kingdom is a global one.
What I'm realizing is that being a part of Willow Chicago is making me a better citizen of the Kingdom of God. That’s where my allegiance lies. And as such….my thoughts….my prayers….and my actions become more global minded, and I am realizing that those same attributes make me a better American as I realize more and more that God loves all his children.
I am a 10 year veteran of the United States Air Force so I have great love and pride for our country. I wouldn't want to live any where else....not for an extended period of time anyway :) There is something unique and special about America...but we are not special in God's eyes. We are not without imperfections, but for whatever reason we are still looked at as a country of opportunity and freedom. I call that a blessing from God.
I find myself thinking about the movie Head Of State that stars Chris Rock as the first black president. His opponent character Brian Lewis coined the phrase "God Bless America...and no place else". I sometime feel like our pride in America can lead us to this kind of thinking and I know that's not what God has in mind for us as individuals, a people or a nation. I do want God to bless our country....and I love singing "God Bless America" in appropriate gatherings, and I love living in a country where I am free to share my thoughts on this subject.
So how has attending Willow Creek Chicago made me a better American? In short, by making me a better citizen of the Kingdom of God.
Francis Wyatt is the Worship Pastor of Willow Chicago. He believes that the arts can be a tool of cultural restoration for the city of Chicago. That desire is seen through music, dance, visual arts and spoken word that lifts the human heart and creates an environment of togetherness rather than division. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Cheryl. They have two adult children, April and Brandon.