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COLUMN — We should not get the cross and flag confused

Last year most of America was on lockdown due to the pandemic. Memorial Day events were canceled.

This year I have heard very little about Memorial Day other than people getting off on Monday, stores having sales and lots of travel with family and friends. The grills are fired up for hot dogs and Red Poppies are located at the local fundraiser table.

Memorial Day started after the Civil War and commemorates the sacrifices of those who have fought and died in the American armed forces. It is a time to reflect on and honor those that fought for our freedoms.

In the word, Paul said, “For one will hardly die for a righteous person; though perhaps for the good person someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Retired USAF Roger Brody would say before Jesus died that he lived. To the consternation of those watching him, he invited himself to the home of a hated tax collector named Zacchaeus. He challenged the hypocrisy of religious leaders by coming to the rescue of a prostitute. He exposed the meaninglessness of their religiosity by healing the sick on the Sabbath, and he challenged bigotry and insensitivity by publicly engaging in conversation with a Samaritan woman that his society said was unworthy of his time.

As Christ followers, this is our heritage as well. Our eternal citizenship in his Kingdom begins when we receive Christ as our Lord and all other allegiances are secondary. Do not be confused. I am grateful every day that I was born as a free, American, citizen. I am here because God allowed me to be.

In addition, as a retired military spouse I am constantly reminded of what those freedoms cost. I do not forget because I am privileged to know military families. I miss them and although we stay in touch, there is something about military life that is like no other.

As Brody would say, I am struck by the similarity of our expressions of patriotism and faith. Occasionally I wonder if we get the cross and the flag confused. As American Christians, we are indeed twice-blessed, but we should not get the two confused. America is an imperfect place, an unfinished project, an ideal we hope to make a reality.

However, Gods’ Kingdom is perfect, constantly flourishing and a reality that we will obtain. It is a truth that we should hold fast and know deep within ourselves that it is God’s perfect plan. May we demonstrate this great love that God has for us and remember the ultimate sacrifice that was made, so we could obtain it.

Yvette Perrin is a columnist for The Charlotte Gazette. She can be reached at theword2yvette@gmail.com.