On November 9, 1938 an orchestrated wave of hatred was poured out on the Jews in Germany and Poland, infamously known as Kristallnacht, the night of the broken glass. Shattered plate glass from storefronts rained down like crystal as Jewish shops were broken into, and destroyed. Hatred, if left to fester, can create Hell on earth. From Cain who killed Abel, to Haman who hung on his own gallows, from the order of the KKK, to the odor of the filthy rags of self-righteousness, to unfurled flags of extremism, national and religious pride can stink to high heaven. Faith is a relationship not a religion. Religion never saved anyone. But if we must use the word “religion,” The real thing is not proud but humble. How faith in Christ evolved into Gothic Cathedrals with flying buttresses, red Cardinal caps and satin slippers is the kind of thing that would have made Jeremiah weep. Tall steeples that were supposed to say Look at Him, eventual said “look at us”, and that is pride. “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
American History is Plymouth Rock, Valley Forge, Gettysburg. However, it is also the Salem Witch Trials, Trail of Tears, and Tammany Hall. It is Buffalo Bill and Bill the Butcher. While a balanced and accurate study of American History should not stumble us, it should humble us. Evidence of God’s hand can be seen from the crossing of the Mayflower to the crossing of the Delaware, but national pride should be tempered with the truth that nations rise and fall, come and go, and only God’s word is final and forever. To think that the Constitution of the United States is divine is dangerous. America is not mentioned in the Bible. Gibbons describes both the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. The declaration of love for “God and Country” in the same sentence may sound good, but is spiritually unsound.
There is nothing wrong with asking God to bless America, and there is a lot of evidence that He has. She was one of the first nations in history to be based on the idea of Freedom and the ideal of justice; and those elements were spawned from the head waters of the Holy Scriptures, by men drawing water from the wells of Israel’s witness and the example of the Exodus.
From the “City on a Hill, to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, that dream of Freedom in God and good, runs through American History as a thin crimson thread. Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration got blown off course with the God and Country theme when he suggested they build three tabernacles on the summit, one for Him, one for Moses and one for Elijah. Careful! Kristallnachts (the night of the broken glass) can began with a misplaced love which can degenerate into a hatred for others. Cruel, unkind, and nasty words led to War, the Holocaust, and for millions, to Hell on Earth. So, with all the Flag waving and Flag burning, I wave a red flag of warning. What we need to see is sinners waving a white flag of surrender before God, and kneeling before Jesus who is the only hope of the world. –Ingimar DeRidder