Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The American Flag

Sanctuary of First Federated Church Des Moines, IAI don't have all the answers to this question, but I do know it is a tough one. Does the American flag have a place in the Sanctuary of a church?

This is a question the staff at our church considered for several minutes today. Opinions were shared. Our thoughts considered. Further contemplation definitely required.

In seminary one of my professors definitely had the opinion that the symbols given any space in a worship service must be carefully considered. He didn't believe flags were appropriate.

I'm not sure where I really land on the topic myself. Yes, there is a big part of me that thinks the flag should be seen in the church. Just about every church I've regularily attended had one on stage. I've also visited other churches where no flag could be seen anywhere.

One of the concluding remarks today at our meeting was to be careful not to make this an issue more than it needed to be. When we gather together on Sundays to worship we don't come to look at the flag but to cast our eyes upon the Lord. It is sortta one of those don't lose sight of the forest by getting to close to the tree kind of thing.

I suppose if my passions are enflamed over this issue it probably has more to do with the church buying into the lie that the church and state should remain separate than whether or not the American flag needs to be visible in the Sanctuary of our church.

Last Sunday in our Connections ABF we were studing the relationship between our God and our country. As you really look into the founding of America you'll see such a strong God honoring and Biblical foundation that America was built upon. While this cross in California can be taken down from public land... it makes you wonder when the other extremely overtly Christian symbols embeded in the walls and monuments will be covered up.

Americans from my generation for the most part have no clue what they've got by living in America. More people from my generation have been killed in the womb than killed in one conflict or another America has been apart of. In fact, I know a whole lot more babies have never seen the light of day than have been killed or wounded since 9/11 by surving in the military. If you look at the numbers... your chances of being wounded or killed in Iraq are far less then simply living in America. The biggest difference is in how. Some ununiformed terrorist oversees vs. some drunk American driving under the influence.

I don't know why I've always had this interest in the military. I've seen a lot of the war movies made from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and other types of wars. I've read a lot of books that talk about the military both fictional and non-fictional. I suppose this exposure to this genre has given me a greater appreciation for our country and the American flag. Just remember that seen in "The Patriot" where Mel Gibson picks the flag up from a fallen soldier to rally his fellow men to go back into battle. His character in the movie did a lot to avoid entering the fight... but once he did those reasons were for more than selfish ambition.

A lot of blood has been shed in history in wars for one reason or another. The world hasn't known peace for a very long time. In the garden between Adam and Eve (before the fruit), possibly for a few months and years while God flooded the earth and Noah's family repopulated it. Yet, death and destruction always follow people around.

History doesn't have that many examples of countries established on the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Rights given by God... not by the government or the people. America is unique.

I don't know if my generation will ever understand how blessed we are by the sacrifices of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. I hope my children will understand. I hope I never forget.

I tell most people that the only way to truly know how blessed they are to live in America is to spend some time outside our borders. Go visit the places where 80% of the world lives in poverty. I spent more money on lunch today than most of the world will earn in a month.

God has truly blessed this nation. I think we can honor the Lord by respecting the American flag. A day may come when the American flag will no longer bring any honor to the Lord, but I don't think I'll be among the living when that happens.