Thursday, July 3, 2008

faith and flag?

Hitler proclaimed to be head of the church. And in many ways the church in Germany during his political reign succumbed to his power. The Nazi flag was displayed by the church as depicted in the photo above. Were religious leaders forced to display the flag? Perhaps some leaders and church members felt like they had no other option but to hang the swastika clad flag.

history tells us that some Christians in Germany rejected Hitler as head of the church and did not agree to display the Nazi flag. These Christians risked their very lives to proclaim that Christ is the Head of the church!

I am proud to claim the confessional history of the Confessing Church of Germany. These are the faithful who gathered and wrote the Theological Declaration of Barmen. Here are a few of the words from the confession.

"In view of the errors of the "German Christians" of the present Reich Church government which are devastating the Church and also therefore breaking up the unity of the German Evangelical Church, we confess the following evangelical truths...

We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church, over and beyond its special commission, should and could appropriate the characteristics, the tasks, and the dignity of the State, thus itself becoming an organ of the State."

So what about the American flag in the sanctuary? Are Americans forced to display the flag? No.

Am I and others comparing America to the former Nazi Germany? No. Do I believe the American flag should be displayed in the sanctuary? No.

However, I do understand those who believe differently. I understand the veteran who fought in WWII in order to defeat Hitler. I also hear the Korean Vet who says that the flag represents his freedom to come and worship where he chooses.

I, however grew up in the Viet Nam and Watergate era. I did not learn to always trust the decisions of our government. HOWEVER, I celebrate our countries history, am thankful for the constitution, deeply love where I live, honor those who put their lives on the line for America and other nations!

When I enter the sanctuary, I enter to worship God.....the one and holy God who in Jesus Christ established the Kingdom of God on earth....this Kingdom includes all people, and all nations. The Sabbath is a day set aside for the sole worship of God, not me, not you, not this country or any other country.

Can we pray for our country during worship? Yes. Can we give thanks for this country during worship? Yes. But we must always do these things with the understanding that we are called to live as citizens of the Kingdom of God.....a Kingdom that includes England, Africa, Japan, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, China, Syria, Germany, Columbia, etc.

Will the flag be on display in the sanctuary where I lead worship this Sunday? Yes. The leaders of the congregation have agreed that the flag would be on display in the sanctuary on the Sundays nearest....July 4th, Veterans Day, and Memorial Weekend.

The flag remains in the Narthex on all other days.

No comments: