Did you know that this past Tuesday was Flag Day? Back in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson established the tradition – each year on June 14th Americans would celebrate the red, white, and blue. Legend has it that Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross, who created Pennsylvania naval flags, designed our flag that initially featured 13 white stars in a circle of blue and 13 red and white horizontal stripes. The American flag in its present form would grace our presence in 1960.
Some see the flag as simply a piece of cloth, while to others it is so much more. Certainly the brave men and women who fight for our country view the American flag as a symbol of the freedom that too many of us take for granted. The flag is a symbol of life. Of liberty. Of national pride. Of hope.
Yes, we are Americans. And we should thank God every day for the privilege to live in this nation. But our ultimate flag waves elsewhere. As Christians, we are neither citizens of this country nor of this world. Our banner is God’s image – the victory He gave us through the death of His only son makes us triumphant in any battle. We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. More importantly, we pledge our loyalty to the Creator of the universe. The God who knew us before he formed us in the womb (Jer. 1:5).
Our God is an awesome God. And He has blessed our nation beyond belief. But make no mistake – He is not an American God. The love He has for a family living in a luxurious house in Manhattan is no different from the love He showers upon the residents of a poor rural town in Honduras. His desire is for all of us to honor the flag – Old Glory, yes, but the glory of the cross first.
As we think about the flag’s meaning and what it symbolizes in our lives, consider some other questions as well: What does the blood of Christ mean to me? How does the cross offer me freedom that I can’t find anywhere else? What can I do ensure that other people – regardless of background – enjoy the same gift of eternal life that I do?
In His Name,