When I was in elementary school, one of the grades that showed up on the report card was a “Citizenship” grade.  I guess this was the teacher’s backdoor channel to letting parents know how well-behaved their child was.  A citizen is a member of society who is granted the rights and duties of that particular society.  A citizen has privileges that a non-citizen does not have.  For example, a citizen has the freedom to live and work within the boundaries of the society.  A citizen has the right to vote and run for public office.  Such rights are not afforded to non-citizens.  However, being a citizen is not all fun and games.  There are also certain expectations placed upon a citizen – jury duty, military participation (i.e. – registering for Selective Services) and paying taxes are among those responsibilities.

In the psalm reading this morning, there is a lot of talk about citizenship.  More importantly, there is a lot of talk about how all become citizens of Jerusalem.

I will count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me – also Philistia and Tyre, and even distant Ethiopia.  They have all become citizens of Jerusalem!  Regarding Jerusalem it will be said, “Everyone enjoys the rights of citizenship there.”  And the Most High will personally bless this city.  When the Lord registers the nations, he will say, “They have all become citizens of Jerusalem” (Psalm 87:4-6).

This is some pretty big news, isn’t it?  All the nations will become citizens of Jerusalem – with all the rights and responsibilities therein.  I think, all too often, we like to focus on the rights, don’t we?  The responsibilities?  Well, they’re kind of a drag.  Paul talks about being a citizen of heaven in his letter to the Philippians (3:20).  As a citizen of God’s kingdom, we also have some rights and responsibilities.  We have the right to know that we are loved by an awesome God.  We have to right to know that our sins have been forgiven.  But we also have some responsibilities.  We have the responsibility to live as members of God’s kingdom.  We have the responsibility of sharing the good news of a risen Christ with the world around us.

Being a citizen means that we realize it has to be about more than us.  It has to be about more than our wants and perceived needs.  It means doing whatever we can for the sake of God’s kingdom, so that all can become citizens in their own right.  How would your Citizenship grade look if the report card were to come out today?