What would happen if, one Sunday morning, I walked down the center aisle at the beginning of a worship service at Legacy carrying a large wooden cross? Would the congregation automatically stand in reverence or in a show of respect? What would happen if I asked the church to place their hands over their hearts and pledge allegiance to the cross and everything it stands for—not just our salvation, but the lifestyle it represents, one of service and sacrifice and death to ourselves and our own desires and impulses? What if I asked all of us to, together, recite a pledge of loyalty to Christ and his church? Would you begin to question my methods?
What if I took that cross, that symbol that represents everything we say we stand for and live for, everything we claim that defines us as a people, and everything we say we would die for, and displayed it all over the worship center, up front, around the walls, and in the foyer, and asked people to show it the respect it deserves? Would you begin to question my motives?
Why do some people complain that the song leader has us stand sometimes for two or three songs in a row in praise to our Heavenly Father and yet those same people will stand at attention for ten minutes or more voluntarily—without even being asked— to honor a flag or a group of veterans or to sing patriotic songs?
Why doesn’t anybody ever spontaneously stand up out of respect for the reading of our God’s Holy Scriptures during a Christian assembly? Why doesn’t the re-telling of the stories of Jesus’ life and ministry and teachings and sacrifice and service and death and burial and resurrection and eternal reign to redeem us and reconcile us to God reduce people to tears like the Star Spangled Banner does?
Why are we more comfortable and accomodating when people around us cry or clap or shout or jump up and down in response to a patriotic image or song than we are when our brothers and sisters in Christ respond similarly to our God’s matchless grace and unfathomable forgiveness in their lives?
What really touches your heart? Where, really, is your loyalty? To what or to whom do you pledge allegiance?
If America and all of its symbols and systems and everything they stand for were actually opposed to Christ and Christianity and deep down worked subtlely but fiercely to undermine Christ and his church and were responsible for driving more Christians away from Christ instead of to him………
There are 57 days left until football season and my all-time #57 is NOT a Pittsburgh Steeler! It’s the man Bear Bryant called “the greatest center I ever coached,” longtime Dolphins offensive lineman Dwight Stephenson. Stephenson was Miami’s #2 pick out of Alabama in 1980 and was the Dolphins team captain on two Super Bowl teams with Dan Marino. He played in three AFC title games and five Pro Bowls. But here’s the most amazing stat, especially considering that Marino wasn’t the fastest quarterback in history: every year that Stephenson played, the Dolphins offensive line allowed the fewest sacks in the league. His career was cut short by a blown out knee in ’87. And he ended up coaching the Miami offensive line under Don Shula. Broncos linebacker Tom Jackson receives honorable mention. But Stephenson’s the best to ever wear #57.
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
I have sworn by myself,
The Word has gone forth from my mouth in righteousness
and will not turn back.
That to me every knee will bow, every tongue swear allegiance.”