What is the flag?
Published 4:44 pm Thursday, June 27, 2019
By Hal Brady
Owner and operator of a Christian ministry in Decatur
What is it about the flag that stirs such deep emotion in some of us? What is it about that piece of cloth, the red, white and blue, that provokes such feelings of pride and joy and grandeur?
I like the explanation of one older man whose grandson turned to him and asked, “What is the flag, Grandpa?”
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The grandfather thought a moment and then responded, “Well, son, the flag is a bit of cloth and a bit of love and a bit of blood and a bit of hope, all woven together and crowned with stars. It’s everything we know this country to be and everything we expect this country to be and everything we pray it will be… “
First, “What is the flag, Grandpa?” “It’s a bit of love.” I think we will all agree that love is a mysterious force. Love, we are told, and probably know from personal experience, is often blind to the faults of the beloved. But in the long run it is a weak love that cannot face reality.
Loving America does not mean that we ignore her faults past or present. It does not mean that we are unaware of her inequalities or injustices that must be challenged and changed.
However, loving America does mean having a grateful heart for the blessings God has provided and the freedoms that countless Americans have put their lives on the line to preserve.
In one church I served, we held an “Appreciation Service for God and Country,”on the Sunday nearest the Fourth of July. On the following Monday morning a professor came to my office and wanted to know why we had held that service. I said, “Basically, we held it for two reasons. First, there is something in the Bible called a “theology of blessing.” It’s located in the wisdom literature and reminds us to be thankful for our blessings. Second, we held that service because of our love for our country.
Second, “What is the flag Grandpa?” “It’s a bit of blood.” At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin, making his way down the steps of Constitution Hall, was asked by a lady, “Sir, what did you give us?”
Mr. Franklin, in answering said, “A Republic, lady, if you can keep it.”
By so answering, Franklin recognized that it may be as costly to keep the republic as it was to get it.
Since the utterance of these words, the price has, indeed, been great.
“It’s a bit of cloth and a bit of love and a bit of blood and a bit of hope, all woven together and crowned with stars. It’s everything we know this country to be and everything we expect this country to be and everything we pray it will be.”