Yesterday before the worship service, I was stopped by a longtime member with a very concerned look, “Where are the flags?”
For years the American and Christian flags stood at the front of our worship center. During a renovation project they moved to a protective closet home… and have stayed there.
Most people of our church gather together for about an hour and fifteen minutes a week to worship God – omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, awesome, great, powerful, loving, wonder-working, merciful… God. He is worthy of worship! And He is the only one worthy.
Over the Independence Day weekend people from our church attended family parties, lit fireworks, watched parades, and celebrated our country’s birthday in all manner of ways. I figure I spent about 10-12 hours engaged in activities like that. (And this was a light 4th for us due to other obligations.) To be fair, some of the events allowed for great fellowship with believers and wonderful connection time with those who don’t follow Jesus yet. However, the reason for the gatherings was to celebrate America – to sing her praises and be thankful for the freedom we enjoy. I could have been busy all weekend (and even the weekend before!) celebrating red, white, and blue.
Yesterday, the body of Christ met for an hour and a half.
Please understand– I’m not complaining or foisting a guilt-trip on anyone for partying all weekend, but I am making the case for why we didn’t recite the Pledge to the Flag yesterday in church– that hour and a quarter we are together is so short and incredibly precious! Every minute counts!
Why would we give up even one to look away from Jesus?
I am grateful to live in the USA! I will cheer loudly and stand as the color guard parades the flag down main street. I belt out The National Anthem at sporting events. But I fiercely protect the time we gather to worship God.
It is holy – set aside for Him and His Church.
It is pure – for Him only, for none other.
It is a sacred trust – that I will continue to guard.
Because the God of the universe is the only one worthy of our worship.