Memorial Day is this weekend, and my family usually gets together to be out, grill out, and hangout. We play games, we eat, we often will work on something together. Sunday comes, and we enjoy worshiping together. This year we plan to have family over to work on a project and spend time together. Then we plan on spending time together on Monday, too. We do this all in celebration of Memorial Day. A few years ago, in celebration of Memorial Day, Kira’s dad, Randy, took us through Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. This was an excellent time to reflect and remember the sacrifices made for our freedoms. I love this holiday. I love Independence Day. I love patriotism and all things, ‘Merica! But, sometimes, I wonder. Is it Biblical to acknowledge patriotic holidays as a Christian?
If you live in the Southern United States, this might not even be a question for you. But if you live outside the US or in a region where Christianity as a whole isn’t at the forefront of your culture, then the intertwining of patriotism and Christianity might be a strange concept. I see my Christian friends taking it to both extremes. One will tout the “biblical foundation” America was founded upon claiming that America is a Christian nation chosen by God. Another one of my friends will reject all things where Christianity and patriotism bleed over, claiming the separation of church and state. Is there a balance for me to find as a Christian? I hope so. Are there lessons for us to learn? Absolutely!
Finding the Balance: If you observe a day as a special day, it’s fine if you do, and it’s fine if you don’t. Just don’t be upset with your brother if he chooses to do things differently than you. You both will be judged by God for how you act. I know people that will legitimately be upset if I put up a tree, hoist a flag, or say a pledge of allegiance to the flag. Surely, we can find a balance.
Paul says, in Romans 14:5-10, “One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”
Learning the Lesson: Don’t love America more than you love God. Don’t serve America more than you serve the church. Don’t care more about the future of America more that you care about the future of eternity. I know people that will say they love God more than America, but they don’t act like it. I know people that seem to love their country more than they do the church. They are appalled at the manipulation of the constitution but then manipulate the scriptures to fit their life. Surely we can learn a lesson.
Paul says, in Philippians 3:17-21, “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
I think we can find the balance and learn the lesson together.
For me, I fly a flag, I remember on Memorial Day, I shoot fireworks and grill meat. But, I also realize that I do this temporarily while on this earth. For me, I strive to love God and serve the church while I live in America. I’m just trying to learn the lesson and be balanced.
God bless you, and may God bless America!
I love you,