Modeling Our Patriotism After God’s Own Heart, and a Lesson From C.S. Lewis By Tré Goins-Phillips for Faith Wire
It’s a uniquely American experience to see city street corners punctuated by little white churches and roads peppered with flags and bunting, serving as red, white, and blue reminders of where we’ve been and where we’re going. But for some, that harmony — or disharmony — between faith and flag is an imperfect union.
Though many well-intentioned Christians might find the fairly odd couple, well, fairly odd, author and armchair theologian C.S. Lewis saw it as an extension of what Scripture commands of those who are living according to its teachings.
Our patriotism shouldn’t be in contrast to our faith, which reminds us our true allegiance isn’t to country but to Christ; it should be an extension of it.
In Mark 12, when Jesus’ followers asked him which of the commandments is most important, he replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
To be patriotic is to love your country, and to love your country — in the proper context, remembering this home is temporary and flawed — is really just an extension of God’s command to love your neighbor.
“I think love for one’s country means chiefly love for people who have a good deal in common with oneself (language, clothes, institutions) and in that is very like love of one’s family or school: or like love (in a strange place) for anyone who once lived in one’s hometown,” Lewis wrote in a letter dated May 25, 1951.
Caring deeply for your country, the English writer went on to note, is a good thing “because any natural help towards our spiritual duty of loving is good and God seems to build our higher loves around our merely natural impulses — sex, maternity, kinship, old acquaintance, etc.”