If you come to The Gathering on big-time patriotic days like the 4th of July expecting fireworks, flag waving, or a full repertoire of chill-enducing patriotic songs, you’re likely to be sorely disappointed. The reason is simple: we don’t do it. The more important question is, of course, why.
I know that in America, it is considered downright unchristian not to have major patriotic services on important days, but the fact is, I have a strong conviction that it is closer to unchristian to have them. Now, as a disclaimer here, I’m not saying I believe it’s wrong to show a brief appropriate, God-honoring video or even to have a short segment (such as prayer for the Nation) dedicated to the subject, but when the bulk of our worship time is dedicated to the celebration of a Country (or anything/anyone other than Christ, alone, and His Kingdom), I take issue.
The sole purpose of a Church in worship is to worship…God. The magnification of Christ is to be our solitary focus; singing songs to Him and about Him and focusing on His Word of Truth is why we do what we do. Look, I’m as patriotic as the next guy. I love my homeland, as messed up as she is, but there is an appropriate place and time for those sorts of celebrations and I contend that the time designated for worshiping Christ together and focusing on our true citizenship is not the time and not the place. Not even just once a year.
So, enjoy the fireworks, listen to the band play The Battle Hymn of the Republic, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and whoop it up for the Stars and Stripes, but unless you are intentionally engaging in a soft form of idolatry, please don’t do it in a worship service. Please don’t do it in place of corporate worship of the one, true God who, alone, is worthy or our worship and allegiance.
Oh, and P.S. Don’t let politicians hijack your pulpits either…but that’s another subject (sort of).
That’s my take. Feel free to share yours.