For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7(NLT)
At Pleasant Hill UMC a new flag was erected in the cemetery this week to honor our country and veterans of military service. It’s an inspiring sight!
Big things tend to stay in your memory. One extremely large flag stands as if etched in my mind; it is the flag which flew over Baltimore Harbor at Ft. McHenry in 1814. It’s big enough to cover a two-car garage.
It was at Ft. McHenry, the morning after an attack on American soil that Francis Scott Key wrote our National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. The flag, flying from a 189’ pole, was so big it could be seen waving in the breeze from 10 miles out to sea.
Perhaps, in your mind’s eye you can see the haze of smoke from bombs bursting in air. All through the night the flashes illumined a flag, still intact, proclaiming our freedom! By dawn’s early light that flag was still waving over a free people; the flag declared the sacrifice of men’s lives as the evidence of the re-birth of freedom for the coming generations.
The question is: what held up the flag?
The answer (in a physical sense) is found when you go into one of the barracks at Ft.
McHenry and dig down 9 feet in the ground. There you will find two massive oak timbers,
eight feet long, joined at their centers, forming a cross. That pedestal is what anchored the 63 yard
long flagpole. The anchor was unseen,
but provided a firm foundation for the flag.
If you look for a deeper meaning than the physical, you have to consider the spirit of freedom that has elevated ordinary men and women to be extraordinarily brave in the face of insurmountable odds throughout more than two centuries.
Another question then must be asked, what holds up that spirit?
The Declaration of Independence says all of us were created by God. The spirit of freedom we celebrate with parades and flag-waving came from the One Who breathed the breath of life into man. He put it there, and we, ordinary human beings, created to be the crown of God’s creation, are pulled toward magnificent acts of unusual self-sacrifice as we respond to that freedom placed inside us.
This is truly God’s gift of freedom that literally keeps on giving!
From now until next November (the merciful end to the presidential race and all the debates, ads and election hoopla) it will be tempting to believe some of the positions the various candidates relentlessly present. One of those candidates will serve in the Oval office for the next four years, and our job will be to pray for that person and all who govern.
But in all the campaigning, flag waving and passion, just remember that freedom is not man’s idea, and it is not the domain of Republicans, Democrats or Independents; it is God’s gift to His children to not only think right, but to do right.
Think about that out on the Rocky Road today…and have a great day!