“And we all … are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” - 2 Corinthians 2:18
Earlier today I led a memorial service for longtime Canonsburg UP member Bill Aggers, complete with full graveside military honors, conducted by Canonsburg’s own VFW Post 191. They do a tremendous job and I don’t think I will ever fail to be moved by a 21 gun salute, the playing of Taps or the presentation of the flag.
As that presentation was made graveside today, I was reminded of another service, many years ago in Ohio.
Whether Navy, Army, Air Force or Marines, the care precision that these service men and women take to fold and present the flag is tremendous. This particular service, was no exception. Following the benediction, I stepped aside as the two service members stepped up to fold the flag. One fold, then two and the junior member began with the corner to form the triangle. Slowly it made is way toward the stars, concluding with a final tuck. But when they presented it to the senior officer, instead of a nod and salute, after checking the flag, they swiftly shook their head from side to side.
So the flag was unfolded and they started again.
To my surprise, a second time the officer shook their head from side to side after determining that the folded flag was not up to standards. And so for a third time the flag was unfolded and re-folded for presentation.
I’ve seen many flags folded and presented at funerals. I’d never seen one rejected and each time it happened, my anxiety grew - not to mention the anxiety in the room.
Finally, after three attempts, the senior officer accepted and saluted the flag. The folding finally met the exacting specifications and there was a near-audible sigh of relief as it was presented to the family.
I remember this presentation every single time I see a flag folded and presented. But instead of anxiety, I’ve found a tremendous amount of comfort in it.
You see, as high as the bar is set by our armed forces for the folding and presenting of a flag… God’s bar is much higher. As much care and concern as those service members have for that flag… God’s care and concern for you is much greater.
Throughout our lives, the Holy Spirit is constantly tucking and folding, pressing and nudging, smoothing and refining you so that one day, Jesus can present you to God the Father, as a perfect, unblemished jewel! We are indeed, being changed from glory into glory, by God’s perfect Spirit, to meet God’s exacting standards.
Do not doubt the work of God in this world and in your life. One day, finally, with unveiled faces, we will see it! Until then, let’s continue forward in our mission together,
Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus,