2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-14
Mark 5:21-24a, 35-43
“God Protect The Flag””
Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.
Most of you know that the Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Keys, many of you may be familiar with why he wrote it down, but how many of you are familiar the background, the events that led up to its creation and the emotions that were felt by those who witnessed these events unfold? This lack of understanding and appreciation has led many towards detesting the flag and the ideals of the country for which it stands. In the last several years many out of either hatred, misguided notions, or selfishness have kneeled against the flag, turned their backs from it, or burned it to ashes. We have heard accounts across our nation that classes are being taught in our own schools to hate America, to make scapegoats out of Europeans and Christians the same way the Nazis made scapegoats out of Jews, to destroy our relationship and faith in Christ Jesus, and to rewrite history in the lens of the 1619 project, white fragility, and Marxism. Whereas I am unaware if this pervasive hydra has infiltrated our schools here in Port Clinton and Danbury and such, I fear the day rapidly approaching that such will be implemented. We need to fight this, not only for the sake of preserving the flag, but to also preserve our American history and ideals which are founded on Religious Liberty and Judeo-Christian values. One such thing that we must defend, and we pray to God that he most definitely protects, is the National Anthem.
Before Keys was on the scene, the war of 1812 was already raging. The Revolution did not completely severe our ties with Great Britain, for they still desired to reclaim the now states, thus eventually a second war broke out in defense of our independence. But Great Britain was distracted for they were already fighting a war against Napoleon. During this period, while Britain was distracted many Forts were preparing for potential attacks. One such fort, Fort McHenry of Baltimore, a strategically placed fort that the American forces knew would eventually be attacked, was being fortified in anticipation. Now Major Armistead, the Fort’s command officer, expressed a strong desire to fly a large flag, a huge flag, the biggest flag the British has ever seen, over the fort, stating, “a flag so large that the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a distance.” The General and Commodore approved and by 1813 a 30 by 42 feet with fifteen stars, for there currently was fifteen states, was made and flew over Fort McHenry. Now in case of storm or battle they also procured a smaller and sturdier storm flag.
Eventually Napoleon was defeated and the British forces placed all their focus on America. By 1814, they just burned the Capital and destroyed the White house, now their eyes have turned to McHenry, saying to themselves let us focus all our attention on this Fort, burn it to the ground, destroy that flag, and demoralize America. This Battle was the turning point for the War of 1812, the most important battle. They tried to invade by land but failed. So they tried by sea, and this is when Keys enters the scene.
You see Keys was near Baltimore to organize a prison exchange. The prisoners were held captive on one of the enemy vessels, so Keys organized a meeting via ship. Lucky him, on September 13th, he successfully persuaded the ship’s commander to exchange his prisoners, there was only one problem, because the battle of McHenry by sea was to be that night, they would have to wait. So Keys and his ship was temporarily held captive as he witnessed the British naval forces attack Fort McHenry.
Due to the cannons that protected the fort, the ships that aimed their newly developed rockets and explosive cannonballs, thus legitimate bombs, had to keep their distance. Throughout the
night they fired their ammunition which lit up the blackened sky for all to see through the haze and smoke and kicked up debris. In an effort to demoralize the American forces they aimed particularly at that huge flag that huge high over the ramparts. With each volley Keys watched in amazement as massive explosion after massive explosion bombarded the fort, yet with the night sky so visible, not once did the flag fell. He and all the Americans prayed, God do not allow that flag to go down. A volley thrown, flag is still up, God do not allow that flag to go down. Another bombardment, flag is still up, God do not allow that flag to go down. And still another, flag is still up, dear God keep on protecting that flag.
Though the British intended to take down that flag that mocked them, all they did is expose the flag still gallantly streaming. Such a perilous fight should have destroyed the flag, let alone the pole it was on, but instead with each volley the Americans grew in courage and hope and faith in God while it was the British forces that grew more demoralized as they saw with obvious proof, that God has sided with America and was protecting the Land of the Free. I do not believe in coincidences and neither did the Early Americans and their enemy. There is no way that flag should have remained standing, and yet it did. This was an act of God. The next morning, on September 14th, 1814, the storm flag was lowered, and the much bigger American Flag was raised triumphantly for all the British Soldiers to see. God is on our side, God has blessed America, He is protecting us. After that battle the British forced slowly accepted defeat and has since never attacked us, but has rather decided to be a friend.
Now Keys was writing his song during the Battle, it is four verses long. Did you know that every sentence in the first verse is a question? He is asking will the flag still stand. By the last verse, he got his answer, yes it will! And He proclaims such:
“O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - "In God is our trust,"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”
When Jesus died for us, He did so in order to free us from the tyranny of Satan. Under Original Sin, we were held captive by Lucifer, born as slaves of his domain, thus incapable of doing anything void of sin. We were already damned. But through Jesus, our liberator, He died so that he could take on our chains thus freeing us from the clutches of Satan. Free to do what? Free to do good works. Freed and adopted as children of freedom capable of entering into heaven. Free to still sin, but now of and only of our own volition, for Christ didn’t put us into new chains forcing us to commit only Good works and into believing Him, but freeing us from Satan who forced us to only sin and to only hate God.
It was this Judeo-Christian reality with regards to the sacrifice that God constantly makes for our sake that spurred the founding of our nation rooted in Religious Liberty. For just as Christ died to make men holy, our Founding Fathers and Militia were willing to give up their lives to establish religious freedom and to protect, not provide, our already God-given rights. And it is this that the flag represents: a republic, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
We ask God to still protect the flag and what it truly represents, for since our founding our Founding Fathers has always known that if we wish to remain free then we must also remain to be a religious and moral country. Without God and His protection, we will fail and give into tyranny once again. But be it far from me to speak on behalf of these individuals, so I will conclude with them speaking for themselves.
· “Spiritual freedom is the root of political liberty… As the union between spiritual freedom and political liberty seems nearly inseparable, it is our duty to defend both.”
· “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters.”
· “To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion, if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are but waste paper.”
· “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are the indispensable supports… In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens… And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion… reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
· “The only foundation for… a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”
· “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.”
· “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
These are but a small handful of the many quotes available to us by our founding fathers. They knew the importance of religion and relying on God when it comes to liberty. So I ask you this, as you gaze upon our flag and remember that if it wasn’t for God we would not be a free nation, pray to God to continue blessing this nation, to preserve the faith of the people, and to continue to protect our flag.
Let us pray,
Dear Heavenly Father, just like how you proved to the world during the battle of McHenry that you have blessed America, we ask that you continue to bless our nation and shield it from all the evils that assail it, keeping it a holy nation. In your most glorious name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.