This post is originally from 2008 and was updated with new intro in 2012. – PS / 7-7-15
This past Sunday, I was caught off guard at church by a string of third and fourth graders waving American flags, with a few eager boys chanting “America rules!” I want to clarify that I love this country and am proud to be an American. However, I am a Christian first and foremost.
I belong to a family that spans time and nationality. Our Father doesn’t see us as Americans, Mexicans, Iraqis, or Brits: we’re His kids. I might live in the USA, but I belong to the Kingdom Eternal, which has yet to be revealed.
Below is a post that I wrote several years ago when I first started blogging that should sum this up pretty well.
Originally Posted July 2008
I was driving today, for about forty-five minutes, and I passed through several small, charming communities. I love driving this particular route because (1) it’s long enough to listen to both podcasts and music but not so long that it can’t be made and (2) because it’s peaceful. However, today, my sing-a-long was disrupted by something I saw, and I wanted to share it with you.
As I drove through one particular town, I passed a really pretty church that I often glance at when I drive-by. It’s an older building, and as a history major, I appreciate the quality of the building’s design. I try to not make a judgment about a church from the outside, though I may wonder about them. Yet, what I saw today makes me want to do more than question. I nearly called the pastor.
This particular church had a sign–you know what I mean. One of those marquee signs that usually boast an out-of-context verse and/or a pithy statement about Christianity. My distaste for those signs notwithstanding, this sign earned a special place of opprobrium in my heart. The sign read, as follows: “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”
Now, I probably wouldn’t have reacted so harshly concerning this had I not been right then prayer and signing about the all-superior, eternal ‘Kingdom of God.’ But I was praying and singing! And this church had the gall to proclaim the glory of the UNITED STATES as ETERNAL when the very name of this congregation included the word ‘Zion.’ I immediately began considering how I could contact this church whether by letter or phone. I have since abandoned this idea.
Why do we do things like this? Why do we think that patriotism is next to godliness? Stop pandering to the world! Yes, Independence Day was last week. Yes, I am a proud American, having a degree in history focused primarily on America. However, I am first a Christian! And my King has a Kingdom that will last forever, and nowhere in that Kingdom will the ‘Stars and Stripes’ be found flying. Nowhere in that Kingdom will Uncle Sam be paid homage.
Grow up, Church! God’s Kingdom and HIS ALONE lasts forever. The ‘Stars and Stripes’ will fall either at the hand of its enemies or at the feet of Jesus at His Return. Christians ought not to be trusting in this moribund nation, its guns, or its weak assertions of what ‘freedom’ is. True freedom is not found in war but in surrendering to Jesus, accepting His death and resurrection as payment for our sin, and looking to the horizon for His coming.