Still Flying High
On Friday, April 21, 2007, the American flag flew at half-mast. All over the country people lowered these symbols of freedom and prosperity under a cloud of shattered dismay in recognition of the most gruesome massacre that had been recorded to date in US history. On the campus of a quiet, unassuming university in Virginia, 33 lives were senselessly snuffed out at the hands of a madman who bulldozed through classrooms in a fit of murderous rage. Unlike the lives lost, the tears shed cannot be numbered, the dreams shattered cannot be fathomed, and the hopes dashed can never fully be known. Everyone sitting on the periphery of this disaster shed tears of disbelief and did the least that they could–honor those caught in the gunfire by lowering the flag in their memory.
That flag. It’s sobering to see it stripped from its normal pinnacle of glory.
That flag. It’s odd to view it bowing low to the ground; its head hung in infuriating shame.
That flag. The wind doesn’t catch its seams – hurling it headlong into a billowing glorious dance as usual. That flag. In this lowered position it seems smaller. Weaker. Less proud. Humbled.
Indeed, America bended to the sting of death that touched it’s soil. The symbol of all that makes it’s significant was lowered on that day. And yet, even with the ashes of disaster still hanging in the air, there was one power that had not been dismantled; one throne that had not been usurped; one authority that had not been overthrown.
It became clear to me when I passed by a nearby church while out running a few mindless errands. There, on the grassy knoll in the middle of its vacant parking lot, stood a towering pole and on it – two flags. The American – lowered. And the Christian flag, adorned with the cross of Jesus Christ, at the pole’s very highest point. I would have missed it had someone else not pointed it out. I wouldn’t have taken in the powerful truth in the message it declared had another more sensitive soul not pondered these truths first. But her pointed finger directed my soul to the powerful statement made on the flag poll of the church. The American flag, perched midway up the long silver post in their manicured front lawn, had been eclipsed under the shadow of another more prominent regime.
Never submitted to the happenings of this earthly globe, the Christian flag still flew high. This flag, representing things eternal, symbolizes a declaration of independence that cannot be hampered, altered, or destroyed. At the Name represented by this flag, every knee will bow and every tongue will make a startling confession of loyalty to true Kingship and authority. Every person, from pauper to president, and every nation will make it voluntarily or involuntarily today or someday. And on that somber day in April, America had been forced to make that confession. The sting of death had brought the American flag to its appointed and necessary place, lowered beneath the cross of Jesus Christ. The flag that was and is always. . . still flying high.
I was humbled to see these flags in their appropriate order that day, and I long for this ideal to dictate the future for everyday operations in our country. I will pray for this day. Until then, I must not sit idly by waiting for the national tide to turn. Rather, I must personalize the symbolic meaning of these flags and ask myself, “Does the flag of Christ’s authority wave at the pinnacle of my heart and life?” I can’t long for a country to bend its knee to Christ’s Lordship without first bowing my own. I can’t spend time and energy praying that others will commit to do what I haven’t already done. This change starts with me . . .and it starts with you.
Has the armed gunman of chaos altered life as you’ve known it? Has the bullet of disease, financial disarray, adultery, or divorce put to death the dreams and hopes that you have held close to your heart these years? As you lower the flag of your expectations of the prosperity, happiness and peace you expected this world to bring, would you make sure that our Lord reigns higher and more supreme? Reposition your hopes on His Name, His power and His authority in your life. Lift up the flag of Christ higher than any other flag that you wave.
Let all the declarations of our allegiance fly at half-mast in our hearts today and everyday, overshadowed and obscured under the shadow of the One who will reign in our nation and in our lives for all times.
How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God. – Psalm 146:5