Joyful Noise June 11,2009

I am a spiritual being acknowledging my patriotism.
          When was the last time your heart was filled with patriotism and you felt completely removed from your body as you gazed in a heightened sense at your country’s flag? Quite often I receive a spiritual charge as I look at the American Flag. Not because I revere it as I do God, but rather that it takes me out of myself – puts me in a place of reverence as I recall my own activism and work for equality, justice and freedom. Through marching, singing and prayer I have found myself a part of that spiritual movement that has helped increase the awareness of The Divine in whatever form you believe works best for you.
              One of the most spiritual/patriotic times of my life was standing at the base of Mt. Rushmore at sunset. Lights came on bathing the four granite presidents in luminescence, the American flag unfurled gently in the breeze, fireworks exploded overhead and the Star Spangled Banner drifted through a multitude of speakers. Tears streaming down my face on the cool South Dakota evening – I realized that as much as I had protested, sang We Shall Overcome and championed equal rights . . . still my spirituality blossomed that evening and I was proud to be an American. I was not burning the flag – but embracing it as a symbol of who I am . . . a spiritual patriot.
          Patriotism is defined as love of and/or devotion to one’s country. The word comes from the Greek patris. However, patriotism has had different meanings over time. I find that I most identify with the 18th century belief that patriotism is separate from nationalism. Instead patriotism was defined as devotion to humanity and beneficence; providing charity, criticizing slavery and denouncing excessive penal laws. In both ancient and modern visions of patriotism, individual responsibility to fellow citizens is an inherent component of patriotism. Doesn’t that sound like the Golden Rule? And, as a spiritualist minister – I feel that treating folks the same way I would like to be treated is the basis of my belief. 
          All of these feelings, emotions and thoughts about patriotism were triggered by National Flag Day which was first recognized as a holiday on June 14th, 1877. This was one hundred years after the Continental Congress adopted the flag with the stars and stripes as our nation’s official flag. The congress asked all public buildings to fly and wave their flags in remembrance of this day.
The public also got excited about the idea and started to fly their flags on June 14th as well.
It was President Woodrow Wilson, who in 1916, proclaimed officially that June 14th was Flag Day. But, it wasn’t until 1949 when Harry Truman was our president, that a bill was signed declaring that June 14th was National Flag Day.
In 1966, the Congress also voted to request that the President make a proclamation stating that the week that June 14th falls in be declared as National Flag Week, in which all citizens fly their flags.
The United States of America’s flag is one of the world’s most recognized symbols. For our country it stands for unity, pride, freedom, and democracy.
No matter who you are or where you are from, as a citizen of the United States, you probably got chills when you saw the 2008 Olympians athletes march in holding the flag, or when you watch the soldiers fold the flag from the casket of a comrade, or possibly when everyone rises to salute the flag prior to a ballgame. – I know the symbol of the Flag stimulates the beautiful spirituality that says, the flag means something to you. In case you forget sometimes, that is what National Flag Day is there for. Remembering the past and where we have come from and the struggles our country has gone through is how we love and appreciate each other and our country enough to keep going in the right direction.
We all know inspiration when we feel it. It is a force that enlivens us and activates us to do something—we might dance, sing, paint the house, or envision a new career. We might call an old friend or plan a trip abroad. Or, stand and gaze at a flagpole – feeling the energy of your State and Nation’s flags. Whatever the case, doing what we do from a place of inspiration and spirituality makes all things possible.
If you already know what inspires you, whether it is attending church, looking at old photographs, going to the library, or calling a friend, find a way to incorporate it into your life on a regular basis. If you aren’t sure what inspires you, or if it has changed, take some time to think about it. When we are in the presence of what inspires us, we hear our inner guidance more clearly and we have the energy to follow its cues.
If it has been a while since you have been touched by inspiration, you may feel listless and dissatisfied. Know that you can turn things around by remembering your spirituality, symbols, pictures and friends. On this Flag Day – let the flag light you up and bring that patriotism back into your life.
The phone rings at FBI headquarters. “Hello?”
“I’m calling to report my neighbor. He is hiding marijuana inside his firewood.”
“Thank you very much for the call, sir.”
The next day, FBI agents descend on the neighbor’s house. They search the shed where the firewood is kept. Using axes, they bust open every piece of wood, but find no marijuana. They swear at the neighbors and leave.
The phone rings at the neighbors house. “Hey, Adrian, did the FBI come?”
“Did they chop your firewood?”
“Great, now it’s your turn to call. I need my garden plowed.”
This 85-year-old couple, having been married almost 60 years, die tragically in a car crash. They have been in good health the last ten years, mainly due to the wife’s nearly neurotic interest in health food.
When they reached the pearly gates, St. Peter took them to their mansion, which was decked out with a beautiful kitchen and master bath suite, complete with Jacuzzi. As they “oohed and aahed” the old man asked St. Peter how much all this was going to cost.
“It’s free,” St. Peter replied, “Remember, this is Heaven.”
Next they went out back to see the championship golf course the home backed up to. They would have golfing privileges every day, and each week the course changed to a new one representing the great golf courses on Earth.
The old man asked, “What are the green fees?”
“This is Heaven,” St. Peter replied. “You play for free.”
Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch with the cuisines of the world laid out.
“How much to eat?” asked the old man.
“Don’t you understand yet?” St. Peter asked. “This is Heaven. It’s free!”
“Well, where are the low-fat and low-cholesterol foods?” the old man asked timidly.
“That’s the best part … you can eat as much as you like of whatever you like and never get fat and you never get sick. This is Heaven.”
The old man looked at his wife and said, “You and your #@!%&~ bran muffins. I could have been here ten years ago!”



A Joyful Noise!
U.C.M. Newsletter of Joy, Humor, Laughter, and Inspiration

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