Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Today is June 14th. That means it's my 40th birthday. It's also Flag Day. One of the least noticed holidays in our country. (Click the link to read more)

Lectionary: 361
2 COR 3:4-11
PS 99:5, 6, 7, 8, 9
MT 5:17-19

Today is June 14th.   That means it's my 40th birthday.  It's also Flag Day.   One of the least noticed holidays in our country.   If we just look at the flag as a symbol of the current state of American politics in which someone shoots another for just being in a different party, it doesn't seem like such a great thing to celebrate.   The flag though is much more than that.   It was adopted as a symbol of freedom from tyranny.   A new country being born into this world in which all men would be created equal and the dignity given to man by God would be declared immutable by the government, or any of mankind for that matter.   The flag doesn't just stand for those of us who are American now, but for all those who have fought and died for our freedom and our right to pursue justice, truth, and happiness in this world.

That's one of the things that we humans have a bad habit of trying to do.   Just like with Moses who just experiencing the presence of God, we sometimes mistake the glory due to Him for something we have earned.  The Israelites were so enamored and enthralled by this glowing of Moses face that he had to start wearing a veil that they wouldn't forget what they were going to speak to him about.   The flag also has a glory attached to it, a glory that is given by those who have earned it.  Those who have bled, who have died, and who have labored to make this country what it is.  There is this sense of entitlement among many Americans today that somehow the gift we have received in being born here means we deserve to be treated a certain way or deserve certain things from others.   When in fact, what Paul reminds us is that the only glory any of us have comes from God.   The glory of the flag comes from what it stands for.   As the declaration says: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  (emphasis mine)  

Those rights mean nothing if they only come from the government or from the common consensus of society.  It's only when we realize that the true glory of the American ideal is when we acknowledge there is Something outside of us that makes humanity worth loving.   Something outside of us that gives us the rights we have and that no human can take them away.  Our worth does not come from our own actions, the amount of money we have, nor even where we were born.   All men, including those in other countries and other faiths, are created equal.  We have all been given the chance to love one another.  The chance to be redeemed through the work of Christ on the Cross.   He came to fulfill a law that we couldn't live, that we could live a life that we don't deserve.  That puts a great duty on the shoulders of all of us who claim to be Christian.   Are we living up to the commands that Christ gave us?   The beatitudes?  The Ten Commandments?   The law of Love and Freedom?  Or are we binding ourselves with sin and anger, lowering ourselves to a place that involves us treating others as if they don't deserve the same rights we have because they are them?  The other?  The stranger, the widow, the orphan?  

His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14