by J. Gerald Harris

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The Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia on June 14, 1777, adopted the following resolution: "Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes alternate red and white, that the union be thirteen stars white in a blue field representing a new constellation."

Of course, the appearance of the flag has changed somewhat over the years as new states have been added.

In 1814, as the flag was flown over Fort McHenry during an attack by the British fleet, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner. And the pledge of allegiance to the flag first appeared in print on September 8, 1892. On June 14, 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill adding "under God" to the pledge of allegiance to the American flag.

And whenever the flag is displayed, patriotic Americans behold it with pride because it represents "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

This morning we are thinking about the flag; how to salute the flag, which is the term that I am using to convey the concept of our relationship to the government. How should we salute the flag? How should we relate to our government?

We can go back to the time of Jesus and discover that the relationship between the people and the government was one of the hottest issues of the day. And on one occasion people gathered around Jesus, and someone held up a coin and said, "Should we pay our taxes to the government or not?" And Jesus looked at the coin and said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." Yet, at the end of His public teaching, he was accused of the highest form of capital crime - treason. They said that He claimed to be a king in competition with Caesar, and that was a capital offense. They took Him to the cross.

Then, in the history of the early church, there is an ongoing account of St. Paul's relationship to the Roman courts and his privileges as a Roman citizen.

We must remember that the New Testament church was born under a gov ...

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