I am a patriotic guy. I enjoy the 4th, appreciate the people who dedicate themselves to serving our country, and am truly grateful for where I live. I have great respect for our Declaration of Independence, memorized the preamble to the Constitution in grade school and occasionally get teary-eyed during the National Anthem. I am fascinated with our history and have deep admiration for the way our Republic works. Having said all of that…those who wrap Jesus in an American flag (on both sides of the aisle) have always made me feel a bit uneasy. People who identify any border, government, or political agenda with the Gospel deserve to be questioned…
This week as we remember our independence, I believe it is important to recognize the beauty of the American experiment. We live in a nation with a conscience…one that works to remedy our ills, fulfill our obligations, and generally attempts to correct our mistakes. America is special because of why we have been brought together as a people. The United States is not bound together by our geographical borders — but we are a people bonded by an idea. It is a compelling purpose that has never required forceful exportation, but flows naturally under its own power from the shores of our country and crashes like waves into the farthest points of the world. It is an idea that resonates true in the hearts of people in cities like Tehran and Beijing who have never experienced it. We should take a moment to consider how fortunate we are to have been born into a free society.
As Christians, when we fly the flag, say the pledge, remember the sacrifices those we love have made to preserve freedom, we must do it by recognizing the great responsibility that comes with our privileged birth – to be advocates for those in need. As citizens of this great country, we are empowered with the resources to advance God’s world order. We have the power to end poverty, to provide clean water for everyone, to be peacemakers, to give a voice to the oppressed — all beautiful expressions of genuine freedom.
More than most, people of faith should celebrate America by acknowledging that our freedom comes with profound responsibilities.