Is the Cross of Christ then a thing whereby emperors' ambitions are realized? A device that sees the political aspirations of a power-hungry ruler through to victory? Surely Constantine had grasped little or nothing of the ideas set forth in the Cross of Christ!The coincidence of the anthem and reading Verduin led me to reflect not only on how American politicians piggy-back on cultural Christianity, but also on how churches confuse patriotism with worshiping Jesus. A friend told me this morning about an extreme example this past weekend in which the point of the sermon was to prove that George Washington was a Christian. That church is committed to biblical inerrancy; the Bible was left unopened.
Now, I doubt whether many readers here experienced anything rising to that level. But I do wonder how many of us who sung "of thee" yesterday sang to Jesus and how many sang to "my country." I wonder whether importing American patriotism into a Christian service is ever prudent. Frankly, I wonder whether it's even Christian.
Perhaps that raises a more fundmental question: What do we really gather on Sundays to do?