Comment from Ken: You are certainly always welcome to disagree with me during our walk for I will still love you. I believe we need to return to a time when we are not divided in our goals, but work together to form a more perfect society.
Scripture: Matthew 12: 13- 17
13Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. 14When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?”
But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” 16So they brought it.
And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”
17And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
And they marveled at Him.
When Dale and I moved to Hopkinton, New Hampshire, we were surprised to see so many flags outside of businesses and homes on Memorial Day, Flag Day, the Fourth of July Labor Day, and Veterans Day. Those flags looked beautiful by mailboxes or on each side of a driveway and in appropriate places in the center of town and in the village of Contoocook. I asked a person in our local store where I could purchase the iron stand and flag that I saw all over town. I learned that the Hopkinton Rotary Club placed the flags around town. For forty dollars a year which they use for charitable causes, a Rotary member will come shortly before each one of those days to place a flag before your home. The stand remains through the spring, summer and fall season and then they are removed for the winter. Truly I find it an inspiring sight to see so many American flags throughout our new community.
The American flag has always been a sacred symbol to me. Perhaps that is due to the era in which I was born, or because my parents were devoted to the United States of America.
I loved to ask my mother what country her family came from just as I would ask my father. My father would reply Scotland and Ireland but not my mother. I would ask, “What country did you come from mom?” Her reply was always the same. She would say it affirmatively and proudly, “I am an American.” You could never get her to say anything else about her background. “ I am an American.”
Now I am very interested in our family genealogy and so is my niece, Tarah. She has done far more research into our history than I have ever done. We promise that someday we will get together to discuss family and our heritage. According to my niece, my mother has a pilgrim background. My mom did not know this, nor do I think she would have been impressed. No, she was an America. And so am I.
My generation was a very patriotic generation. We grew up as young children when America was engaged in a terrible World War. We were taught in school how wonderful our country was, how we stood for free speech and for freedom of religion. Our country allowed us the right to vote for our leaders, and we were free to follow whatever job or profession we wished to pursue. Engaged in a terrible war against an evil enemy, we were united in our determination to see that not only we, but also others in Europe, remained a free people.
Symbols of our nation were important when we were growing up. Everyone saluted the flag in school, and everyone sang America the Beautiful or The Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem. We were taught not to let our flag be disrespected; we would not allow it to touch the ground and not to mistreat such a vital symbol of our nation.
My cousins were serving our country overseas. My friends’ dads were off to war, and flags showing that people in that home were serving our country were hung in windows. White stars on that flag meant the family member was living; a gold star on that small window flag meant that a member of that family had died serving our country
In elementary school, we purchased war stamps and bonds. We collected newspapers and tin cans, and fat from cooking in the kitchen was put in cans and was collected to help make ammunition. Our automobile headlights were painted black half way down so you could not see our cities by night. On some nights, a siren would wail, and we would turn off all the lights in our house in what they called a blackout. Wardens would walk the streets to see that no light was shining though a glass window. Who knew if enemy planes would attack our country? So you see, my generation is avidly proud of the United States. We respect the flag, we honor our national anthem, and we look to the freedoms that we have always been blessed to have living in this our country -freedoms that are not available in so many other countries in the world.
Now my generation is not blind to the failure of our country to be perfect. We are not blind to the fact that not all people in our nation are fortunate. We are not blind to the knowledge that we have weaknesses in government and inequality among some people, BUT we believe in our country. We know we can be made better yet still respect our heritage, our flag, and our national anthem. My generation is aware that many people wish to live in this country because it holds promise of a free life and a great future. So let’s begin to appreciate some of our blessings and work to make America a more perfect nation.
Every day I seek to remember to thank God, yes God, for my birth to my parents in this nation. I thank God for all the blessings I have here. I hope that I have shared some of those blessings with some who are less fortunate than I am and that I have worked to make America an even more perfect country. So I salute and honor the flag; I sing, with what poor voice I have, our national anthem; and I question the devotion to this nation and to the people of this nation who are not proud to be Americans.
Let us be proud of our nation’s history and work even harder to ensure its bright future in the years to come.
Where is Jesus in this walk? He told us to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. If our nation is failing, if that is true, do you think it can be because as a nation, we no longer honor not only our flag, our national anthem or the God who led our founders to this new land – a land blessed by God?
You are welcome to disagree with my walk – but like my mother in my heart – “I am an American.”
Dear God, help each one of us living in this nation to strive to bring equal blessings to all who reside here. Make us a sharing people, sharing our blessings with others less fortunate. Help us to continue to build a nation of justice and to count each day our good fortune to abide in perhaps not a perfect America but a country worthy of our respect and honor. May we remember this weekend all those who have sacrificed their lives and their youthful days to keep us a free and blessed people, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other. Amen.”