Well, here we are getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July! What are your plans? Have a barbecue with family? Go to the pool and swim? Or just relax and watch the fireworks? Do you fly Old Glory, our flag, to show you are free and can enjoy this time?
No matter what you choose to do, remember that the Fourth of July is a day to remember those who fought for our freedom. It’s the birthday of our country and the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
Sometimes we forget all that has transpired over the years that make our nation “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” If you served in the armed forces, no matter what branch, you understand just how much this day means to Americans. We can travel freely from coast to coast and not need to show identification to go from one state to another. We have freedom of speech and can show how we feel by protesting without being arrested. (Rioting is not a way to express how we feel; that’s chaos.)
We as Americans have a legacy that is deeply rooted in all we say and do. We fly our flag with pride. We sing songs that reflect our freedom. We take pride in all we do to show our spirit of freedom.
Now, let’s pause for a moment to reflect on these same principles, but in terms of our relationship with Jesus. Imagine we are trees, deeply rooted in the ground. Then, along comes trouble, and slowly the ground starts to slip away from under us. We watch the sands of time slowly eroding the very earth from beneath us. Eventually there is no more dirt beneath the tree — but our roots are still deep in that earth, holding us steady.
Well, that’s how I see our relationship with Christ. When storms wash up against us, we still stand tall and mighty because we are firmly planted in the word of God. Our nation has been through many wars, but we, as Americans, are still planted firmly in its roots of freedom. So it is with our relationship with Christ. It doesn’t matter what Satan throws at us. If we are firmly planted in the word of Christ, then nothing will erode us from him.
We fly Old Glory, so why not fly the Christian flag as well? The stars and stripes of the U.S. flag are red, white and blue. The flag of Christ is also red, white and blue — a white background with a blue square in the upper left corner, and in that blue square, a red cross.
The red symbolizes Christ’s blood, shed for us to give us freedom from sin. Soldiers have, and continue to, shed their blood to preserve our nation’s freedom.
The white background of the Christian flag represents our freedom from sin and our salvation. What greater freedom can we have than that? The white stripes on the American flag could be seen as the bandages of our soldiers, showing that they have suffered and even died so we can enjoy our barbecue with the family. Do you see how the white reflects both Christ’s love for us as well as a soldier’s love for our country?
Then we have the blue. This shows we are heirs to the kingdom of heaven. We are officially “blue bloods” in the family of Christ, and this can’t be taken away from us. Once we accepted Christ into our lives, we inherited this privilege. Likewise, the blue on the American flag represents our heritage here in the land of the free. No one can take our American heritage from us. It doesn’t matter if you were born here or became a citizen through naturalization. We are all citizens of the USA. We, as Christians, are “naturalized” through baptism and are now heirs to the kingdom of God. We are blue bloods in God’s kingdom!
Lord, help us to keep growing our roots deep in your word, your truth and your love. Let us say our Pledge of Allegiance with pride this Fourth of July, and know we are free — free here in America and free in God’s kingdom. Fly both flags, and be proud to be an American and proud to be a Christian.
God bless the USA, and let the USA bless God for all we have. Enjoy your time this Fourth of July and celebrate all your freedoms both from tyranny and sin. Happy Independence Day!
Best of the roads and all gears forward in Jesus,
Rev. Marilou Coins