Old glory & my personal struggle
I’m watching a group of our church men and women erect a new flagpole near our church sign. The high winds of the Texas Panhandle finally did our previous one in. I’m so very proud of those folks, but I’m even prouder of that flag atop that pole. They just finished the project and my eyes are filled with tears. Not sad tears, but joyful tears. I’m privileged to pastor a church of people who love Old Glory as much as me. There is a little breeze, so I’m getting to watch her flap a little.
We live in upside-down times, filled with so much hate and violence. Sadly, in the midst of the hate, flag burnings have become all too common; also hanging Old Glory upside down, throwing her on the ground and walking all over her. I can’t even type or read those words without tears.
As a minister of the Gospel, I have a duty to reach out to everyone with the truth. Since national flags are not mentioned anywhere in the 4 Gospels, I have tried to be more Christ-like with my anger over the mistreatment of Old Glory. There is a likelihood that God doesn’t care much about flags. So is it OK for me to care so much that I get teary-eyed every time I stare at her? I’ve been battling with this for several months now. Here is what I have concluded.
First, I believe that it is OK to care about things that God may not care about at all. I’m pretty sure that God doesn’t care about the Texas Rangers or the New York Yankees, but I do. Oh, it’s not a caring that would lead me to mistreat anyone or fail to help someone. (well, I might have to pause for a minute if it was a Red Sox fan. Lol) I care about the Rangers because it is where I live and I love where I live and I love baseball. I care about the Yankees because it brings back memories of watching baseball with my dad when I was a kid. I think that’s OK with God.
Second, I believe that God expects His children to be thankful and appreciative, not only for what He has done for us and has given to us, but for how others have blessed our lives and what they have given to us. One of those gifts, that both God and other Americans have blessed me with, is a country filled with FREEDOM, called America. I have done nothing to earn that gift, but God and military women and men have handed it to me. So I try to live a life of gratitude and appreciation for the FREEDOM they paid for. Thank You, Father; thank you, American soldiers. Note: Personally, I cannot separate my gratitude for American soldiers and Old Glory and our National Anthem and America.
Third, as my Army son regularly reminds me, he fights for everyone’s FREEDOM, mine and those who mistreat Old Glory. (which totally disgusts him too) Since there is no law against it and since the 1969 Supreme Court said burning our flag was a first amendment right, Americans do have the right to drive me crazy by how they mistreat her. As a Christian, I have to live with that and love them; both God and my Army son said so.
Finally, as a Christian, my love and duty to my God must far exceed my love for Old Glory, my love for our National Anthem and my love for America. So when I care about those things, I must remember that they take a backseat to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Therefore, I will continue to stand when our National Anthem is played and choke up every time I try to sing all the words; and love those who don’t.
Therefore, I will continue to get teary-eyed when I stare at Old Glory or write about her; and love those who don’t.
Therefore, I will continue, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to refuse to hate those who mistreat Old Glory, who disrespect our National Anthem or who speak ill of America.
Therefore, I will continue, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to love those who mistreat Old Glory, who disrespect our National Anthem or who speak ill of America.
Even though I do not understand people who feel this way or behave this way, I will love them, which means I will not harbor a drop of hatred for them. And God knows, that I know, that I can only do that with His help. God bless.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at email@example.com.