"America the Beautiful"
I had the privilege to attend a concert the other night. Some of my favorite artists were playing. "Third Day" and Michael W. Smith were joined by one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado, for an evening of worship.
During Michael W. Smith's set, he began to sing his rendition of America the Beautiful. During that powerful medley he ran off stage and emerged running across the stage waving a huge American flag. The packed house at the Rose Garden (where the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers play) leapt to their feet and burst into cheers.
My reaction was a little more complicated.
At first I was deeply moved. I got goosebumps, actually. That feeling was replaced with a knee-jerk response that went something like this. "Should he really be doing that?" I couldn't believe a thought like that even entered my head, but it did. I believe it did because we have, for a long time, been given the message that such overt patriotism is "cheesy" or offensive.
I have said this numerous times. Love of country, this country, is nothing for which we need to apologize. The cynical sneer that accompanies such sentiments as "Oh God, he's such a flag waver" is a symptom of a deadly disease that threatens our way of life.
Remember those who thought it worth giving their lives because of all that flag stands for. Plots of earth overgrown with weeds, marked with bland, faded crosses, are all that remains of those whose memory we celebrate. I am neither a warmonger nor a fool. I just happen to be extremely grateful that I get to live in a nation where Michael W. Smith is free to wave his flag, and others are free to think him naive.
Father in heaven, we praise you for the bounty we enjoy, the liberty purchased at such a terrible price, and the legacy with which we are entrusted. We will not forget. We will remember. Establish Your kingdom in our land. Amen.
Copyright 2003 by Jim Jenkins. All rights reserved.