At this time of year, Christians and others are aware of our great country. So, is it appropriate to sing patriotic songs during a church service? Before you say “Of course”, please read on.
I believe that as long as we don’t pay more attention to our country than to our God during worship, it’s okay to give musical attention to our country. However, there are things to consider on the subject.
We must always be aware of our lyrics when we sing them. When we sing, we are not only singing, but we are also expressing facts and feelings to our Lord and to those seated around us. On the one hand, there are hymns and songs sung in churches that are not biblically correct. When my eyes come upon one of these phrases with a song being sung, I just don’t sing those words or phrases.
Regarding patriotism in general, we should make a distinction between the land or country and the government that is in power over it. I love beautiful America, and I pray God bless her. It’s a wonderful country, the greatest of all time in my opinion, although I may disagree with the administration “in power” at some point. I can love the country but despise its leaders, its policies and the decisions of its leaders. When I sing “My country is you, sweet land of freedom”, I don’t think of the president or the congress, but of the country.
Also, when we pledge allegiance, our only real total allegiance should be to God. But we can always swear allegiance to a lesser degree to our country. The term “allegiance” simply means “loyalty”. For example, I have loyalty to my wife, my state, my church, and the schools I attended, as well as to my country. None of these objects of my devotion takes the place of God. It is God alone who receives my total and unreserved loyalty. Acts 5:29 tells us, “We should obey God rather than men.
We should also consider the possibility of one of these lesser objects of loyalty becoming an idol. We can love our country, calling attention to its abundance and blessings, without praising our land.
Jay Craig, Shelbina, Mo., retired after working with Shiloh Christian Children’s Ranch for nearly 40 years. He is a husband, a father, a grandfather and a great-grandfather. Craig attended Bible College in Moberly, Missouri.