They are not the only ones with dual citizenship, however. Even though I don't have the passport to prove it, I am also a citizen under another (and more important) jurisdiction. By my Baptism, I am a citizen of God's Kingdom. There is no earthly citizenship that can compare with my heavenly citizenship. No other secular citizenship will guarantee my future, make radically different people all part of the same family, or promise that we are heirs to all the blessings of our Father's house.
A primary allegiance to the Kingdom of God is above our allegiance to our country—along with a higher devotion to other Christians and all other human beings (all having been made in the likeness and image). Regardless of nationality, race, or ethnicity, our primary allegiance to God’s Kingdom rather than to our fellow national citizens is not strange: it is mandatory! When our national heritage, political future, or country's survival becomes more important than the welfare of all children of God, then something eternal has been broken inside of us.
Far from being unpatriotic, this understanding gives us a sense of our identity within our national culture. Honoring what is good in our nation's heritage is demanded. (See Romans 13.) Paying taxes (as we all need “skin” in the game), exercising our right to vote, and influencing our culture are all part of being light in the world's darkness and salt in the world's decay. These roles in our national culture are not optional; they are required. However, when we read the Old Testament promises about the people of God and re-interpret the Scriptures to make our nation the target of those promises—rather than the Kingdom of God—then we risk losing ourselves in self-serving nationalism, rather than following Christ and His call for us to be radically His and citizens of His Kingdom.
What the world needs most right now is NOT a political entity that sees itself as a Christian nation. Instead, our world needs Christians of every nation, language, tribe, and culture to pray for peace and to work together to glorify God. Our world needs God's people to show that barriers that normally separate people and incite war between nations can vanish when the Kingdom of God is our primary citizenship, and the salvation of all people is our hearts' desire. One day, as John saw in Revelation, the following promise will be true: “The Kingdom of the world now belongs to our Lord and his Anointed, and He will reign forever and ever.” For now, we need to be good citizens where God has placed us while we passionately remember that our ultimate citizenship is in heaven!
And how does one become (and remain) a good and true citizen of God's kingdom? First, we need to be born of water and the Spirit! When a believer in Jesus is baptized, he is buried under the water and comes out with a new life. If you want to become a citizen of God's kingdom, there are no tests to take, no forms to complete, no money to pay: the only way is to be born again and become a new creation by Baptism (even if you can’t remember it, it happened).
Being a citizen of the Kingdom has its’ obligations just as does our country. We must love God, feed and cloth the poor; visit the ill and imprisoned; bury the dead. We witness to God’s kingdom by loving all our neighbors as we love ourselves. We must follow the laws of our heavenly Kingdom spelled out clearly in Scripture—with Jesus’ “Love Law” (the Golden Rule) and following His example.
Today as we begin the new liturgical season of Ordinary Time, we hear in Scripture how we are God’s servants; how we volunteer to do His will; how we are called to be holy; and we hear about Baptism. Too many years ago I was born into this world, becoming a U.S. citizen. Almost 45 years later, I was born a second time when I was baptized in the Spirit at Confirmation, becoming a citizen of God's kingdom, with all its’ benefits and obligations. Despite my lack of a passport, my second citizenship is every bit as real as my first one and much more important. Long after all passports have turned to dust, I'll still hold my heavenly citizenship. Witness your citizenship in heaven!