Choose You This Day: Aftermath
The Council was caught off guard by our request and asked if they could talk it over before making a decision.
We waited for two weeks before getting the final answer. They initially thought that we were overreacting to seeing an American flag or two in the sanctuary. Their feelings changed after finding photos of last year’s service. Seeing the photos reminded them of how over the top the display was. Several of the people on the Council had also been uncomfortable when they came into church that Sunday morning.
After looking at the photos, reviewing our written request, and talking it over, the Council came to the same conclusion that we did. They made a decision that future services can acknowledge patriotism, but will be much more restrained. Only one or two flags in the sanctuary. And while we won’t sing patriotic anthems, the Lutheran hymnal does have some approved patriotic hymns that the worship leaders can use.
We didn’t hear the Council’s decision until Sunday, after attending the Memorial Day service. We didn't know what to expect when we walked in, and were pleasantly surprised by what we didn’t see. There was only one flag in the sanctuary and it was tucked into a back corner. We sang a patriotic hymn, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. We had a short video commemorating those who died in uniform. And that was it.
Best of all, the message was based on John 17:20-26 and focused on the need for all Christians to be one, free of divisions, so that the world will know that God sent Jesus to show God’s love to everyone, everywhere.