From the Pulpit: Founders church and state separation wise

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 4, 2006

We stand one day after the celebration of the 230th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

That day was full of parades and fireworks. Red, white and blue bunting, flags and t-shirts rule the day. Families will gather and eat barbecue, potato salad, fried chicken, hot dogs, ice cream and cold watermelon.

When I was a young boy our family made an annual trip to Cove Lake. It&8217;s a small lake nestled at the foot of Mt. Magazine in Logan County, Ark.

After a busy day of swimming and eating, we would head home to shoot fireworks. We were a typical family celebrating an important national holiday. We were proud to live in the country of America, and we were proud to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy.

But, our pride and our celebration of American never spilled over into the church.

As the General Assembly of 2002, I served as a minister delegate from Trinity Presbytery. One of the memorials with which we dealt concerned the portrayal of the United States flag at General Assembly. A presbytery asked that the flag of the United States be flown at Assembly meetings. It was an interesting conversation.

It&8217;s one of those conversations where you don&8217;t want to be the first one to speak up against flying the American flag. You&8217;ll be branded as a non-patriot.

The committee talked about and heard from our brothers and sisters from other countries who are also Cumberland Presbyterian. We reminded ourselves that as God&8217;s children and disciples of Jesus Christ, our allegiance is to a power and kingdom that is superior to that of any country. We voted to deny the resolution. It was the right decision.

Our founders were wise to separate the church from the state. Our concern should be that we don&8217;t mix in national zeal with worship of God.

Worship is about God.

God has called us to a higher allegiance.

The kingdom we belong to does not belong to this world. Jesus said so himself.

Mark Davenport serves as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Alabaster (Cumberland)