16 June, 2021

Where Patriotism Belongs

by | 28 June, 2016 | 0 comments

By Mark A. Taylor

The below piece, first posted here five years ago, still resonates with me as we approach the Sunday before the Fourth of July. As one commenter said when it first appeared, “Our patriotism is for our freedom and way of life in a free country; our worship is reserved only for our Creator God.”

More than a decade ago, my congregation hosted a patriotic pageant each year called “Sea to Shining Sea.” We had a huge adult choir, a children”s choir, a live orchestra, actors, and dancers. We welcomed color guards from all the armed services. We sang every patriotic song you know, including one that invited veterans from every branch of the service to stand and receive the cheers of the crowd.

June28_MT_JNFireworks accompanied the songs, and after the last note, everyone sat with necks craned to the sky and enjoyed 20 minutes of the rockets” red glare.

Our mission was to get our church”s name before the community, to honor veterans, and to remind our neighbors of the God-honoring principles at our country”s founding.

We hosted the event in a local football stadium, and had no way to guarantee a couple hundred volunteers would be available for a rain date, so we didn”t have one. I remember one year when storm clouds threatened and showers fell on communities all around our site. We prayed fervently for a dry evening, and not one drop fell on our production that day. It seemed sure that God was blessing our event.

I have many warm memories of the church calling on a variety of talents and gifts to make the production possible. Our people built sets and worked sound equipment and mounted lights and directed traffic and prepared refreshments””all for God.

I was sad when the pageant stopped, and I would eagerly support such a project again. On a Friday or Saturday night. In a neutral location. As a means of outreach and community service. Because our veterans deserve to be honored.

But I can”t forget what one reader said to me after CHRISTIAN STANDARD published a critique of nationalism a few years ago*. “Honoring veterans and singing patriotic songs are all good things,” he said. “But they do nothing to prepare us to receive the Lord”s Supper.” Red, white, and blue blowouts belong in stadiums and parks, not Sunday-morning worship.

Every American patriot can feel a swell of pride and gratitude as we celebrate Independence Day this weekend. We have so many good reasons to love our homeland.

And every American Christian can pray, “God bless America” with fervor and fear. We have so many valid concerns about our country to bring before God in prayer. Let”s be glad when those prayers echo from our pulpits this weekend.

But let”s remember that in God”s eyes, America is only one in a host of nations whose people he loves and wants to save. We may love our country. But our worship is reserved for God alone.

______

*See articles first posted in 2007 by Ethan Magness and Patrick Nullens.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Articles

Stories

By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

CCLF Concluding Strong First Year in Greater Cincinnati

In its first full year, the Christian Church Leadership Foundation has accomplished much to ensure Christian education and resources would continue to be available to people in the Greater Cincinnati area.

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.

Christian Colleges Respond to Changing Cannabis Laws

Across the country, more and more states are legalizing marijuana. These changing laws, and the public’s changing views of the drug, have led many Christian colleges and universities to closely evaluate their policies and regulations regarding the use of cannabis.

Words

Our words have the power to build up or tear down. Yet words can also be the healing agent God uses to bring reconciliation, rebirth, revival, and restoration. We need more of these healing words in every arena of our lives and ministries.

Our Greatest Need

Mankind needed a mediator, a rescuer, to act as a go-between from God to people. We needed someone who understood the needs on both sides of the divide . . .

Follow Us