When I was in high school, we used to have this thing called See You At The Pole. Once a year, or more, we would circle around the flag pole and pray for our school, our town, and our country. It was a great way to connect with fellow believers and express our sadness over a broken nation and express hope that one day, God would bring healing to the nation.
I remember one year where the prayers were especially passionate. In the middle of everyone praying, I felt the Holy Spirit move and I couldn’t help but kneel in the presence of that flag. There was something that pained me about the brokenness I saw. I felt people put hands on me in prayer.
No one stopped me. No one said I hated America.
No one shamed me with the “soldiers died for your rights” phrase so popular right now.
Today, people are kneeling because they see brokenness and I am not surprised. If even high schoolers can see that the world is broken, then how much more should an adult see it. In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve fell. For the rest of history we have been plunged into a very dark reality of violence, oppression, greed, etc. For the Christian, when we see the men and women kneeling during the national anthem, our reaction should not be anger on behalf of a nation. We should be quick to recognize that brokenness is real and that our country is not infallible. Especially after the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. It is becoming more evident that there are massive forces of darkness working to bring fear into the hearts of Americans.
Instead of stopping people from kneeling or shaming them into standing, we must try to be like our Heavenly Father and seek to heal the broken-hearted. Our calling is not to live a so called christian commitment to a flag that is not really ours. Our deepest call to action is to bring the love of Christ to the broken. That means to not be afraid to kneel when we mourn our brokenness. It means to not use the physically maimed for political gain, but to bind their wounds and help with their healing, physically and mentally. Remember that your true citizenship is the Kingdom of God and that should always take first priority over any nation you were born in. We follow the sacrificial way of the Cross that leads to healing and resurrection. We do not follow a flag whose might is economic power and military might. Before you call yourself a patriot, seek to be a prophet calling for justice in a land that starves for it.
Besides, if we concern ourselves with God’s mission, is that not the path to true respect, honor, and love? Would God be more angered by not performing the nation’s rituals for the flag? Or is he more angered at people who use the flag for their own selfish gain? The end result of our Christian calling has the potential to lead to the more perfect union that America seeks to be. However, we have to be passionate about our Christian teaching first and then we can talk about what rituals are appropriate when honoring our nation’s flag.