Just before he was shot he shouted "Es lebe unser heiliges Deutschland!", which means in English “Long live our sacred Germany!”. When we as believers inspect and assess such a statement we must be moved with grief for such allegiance. But that patriotism is definitely in line with the cultures and upbringing in many, if not most, countries. The rich and embellished histories of countries are carefully spoon fed to the children at the youngest of ages and then strengthened with ceremony, pledges, flags, and nationalistic music. It is this kind of misguided teaching that has led to many unfortunate historical episodes and wars, not the least of which was the rise of the National Socialist Party in Nazi Germany. But this is to be expected in the world and it will continue until Christ comes again.
But what has been most unfortunate and even deadly is the way American evangelicalism has bought into such teachings, and even given an unashamed allegiance to the country in which they were born. This year July 4th will fall upon a Sunday, and on the day which is supposed to be for the celebration of the resurrection and the worship of the Risen Christ, many American churches will observe a “patriotic” service complete with nationalistic songs, the celebration of this nation, and even overtures of allegiance and love. All of which is nothing more than overt idolatry and sacrilege within the gathering that must always be exclusively His.
I do not hate America; I hate idolatry. And lest you get the impression that my hands are clean let me reveal this to you. I once led the songs and I once was filled with emotion in patriotic services and I once pledged allegiance to the flag. So I do not judge anyone, but I must judge the actions that continue to take place within the church. It is this “Long live sacred America” view that has drained the church of her God given power and made us nothing more than patriots that happen to be religious. And this nation is no better or no worse than any other; they all are fallen. Political freedom has become an idol as well, and democracy is worshiped. We would do well to remember than when Christ comes to reign again on earth He will not set up a democracy.
Listen to the talk show hosts as they warn us about losing the lifestyle we once knew and how our freedoms are being taken away from us. That may be true for the unregenerate, but for the redeemed this nation cannot take anything away from us at all. Our freedom is in Christ, our joy is in Christ, our salvation is in Christ, and our very lives are in Christ. And when the world brings darkness it only presents an opportunity to shine the glorious light of Jesus and His gospel. When our reactions mirror those of the lost then we have left Christ.
And so I ask you, on this Sunday, to open your heart to the Spirit and see how God actually feels about all this national revelry. Jesus must be Lord, and if that does not become conspicuous and remarkable within any culture and nation, then He is only Lord in words and not the heart. It is past time that the church come out from among them and be different. Not in moral self righteousness, but in humble power that lifts up the Christ in word and deed. Until then we can continue with our religious and national amalgam and feel good about ourselves.