Fifty Ways #33 — Thoughts for Flag Day

Right there on the 50 Ways list, she’s flying. On this Flag Day, 2014, George M. Cohan’s lyrics come to mind:

You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flyin’ flag
And forever in peace may you wave . . .

Fifty Ways Flag

Many will fly flags today. Consider this radical act of patriotism, too. It’s one of the 50 Ways Your Church Can Bless Your Community Through Literacy:

33. Encourage ethnic diversity in your church and awareness of the accompanying needs of non-English speakers and readers.

What’s the connection? In the midst of emotional rhetoric about immigration reform in Washington and elsewhere, Emma Lazarus’s poem fixed at the base of the Statue of Liberty reminds us of our heritage and opportunity.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

(The entire poem The New Colossus is worth reading; a poignant challenge for America at a crossroads politically and otherwise.)

statue of liberty

Here is an action plan for today and tomorrow . . . simple steps as a precursor to #33:

Compare the faces, the colors and the languages of those in line with you in commerce today (Walmart?) and those in the pew with you tomorrow. Disconnect or congruence?

For many around this hungry, war-torn globe, Old Glory still represents hope and opportunity. Symbolically, it is linked to the torch in New York harbor lifted by the “New Colossus.” Practically, it is as real only as the attitudes and actions of those who recite the Pledge and fly the flags. People have come to this country for many reasons. One thing is certain, how we respond to those who are different from us is a reflection of our sense of God’s working in the world. By encouraging ethnic diversity and awareness of needs in our congregations, we take beginning steps that can lead to ministry and authentic witness.

Watch for the newsletter next Wednesday to see how one congregation in Texas responded to unique needs in their community.

Meet you at the pole…

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