A Different Date and Place

6 07 2014

Note: Written on the third of July but posted on the fifth.  Just letting it simmer for a few days…

Tomorrow will be July 4. In the United States celebrations will be ongoing. Flags of red, white and blue will adorn homes and yards around this nation. Grills will cook hot dogs and no doubt an occasional apple pie will be served à la mode. What is more  American than a  flag,  hot dogs and apple pie? Add a baseball game and let the fireworks begin.

Our corner of the globe and citizens of the U.S. around the globe will pause to pay homage to those who have provided and are providing for our nation’s freedom. We might even hoist up a chorus of God Bless America or America the Beautiful.

Fast forward two days. The date will be the sixth and the day is Sunday. Many citizens of the US and globally will gather for another celebration. The Christian Church will gather to celebrate freedom. A different kind of freedom.

This freedom  is not borne out of the resolve of a colonial people or 2 centuries of sacrifice but of a loving God who came to redeem the world. The blood shed for this independence was not on the battlefield of Concord but  Calvary.

Last May several churches in our community hosted Lyra, a Russian quartet, who sang Russian folk songs and Orthodox Church music. Because of their need to have room for singing and movement we removed all the  furniture customarily at the front of the sanctuary to make a stage, so to speak.

As our focus was on making a place for the singers, we left other  things in place. I did not notice how it might look to those in the congregation as they sat and listened to Christians from another part of the globe sing the songs of their faith in their language.

As I was listening to these singers share their, no our faith, I saw the flag of our nation beside of a fellow believer, Christian from another part of the globe. The Crimean crisis was in full bloom as were the Easter lilies heralding the victory of Christ. Many thoughts and emotions filled me.

So, why venture into this mine field? I tread lightly here because I need to be reminded of my primary allegiance. Maybe you might join me in that need?

Keeping first things first is the number one Commandment of ten; “You shall have no other Gods before me”. Psalm 146  cautions us not to put trust in princes.

It was Jesus who told us to give unto the government what is due that authority and to God what is due the Ultimate authority. He cautioned us we can not serve two masters.

When I try to find my place in all of this it seems my best and most faithful response is to let those National holidays be what they are and to let God’s Holy Day be what it is.

As scripture also reminds us there is a time and place under heaven for everything; a time for flags  and fireworks and a time for all who bear on our brow the seal of him who died, uniting in praise and worship of our Sovereign Lord – looking only to banner of the cross, Christ and His Church.

I hope all enjoyed the festivities of the fourth and I look forward to our shared faithful worship  of the Savior on the sixth.

Here’s to celebrations!!!