While many of us have a favorite hymn from the beautifully inspired hymns of praise that have touched our hearts and brought tears to our eyes, The Songs of Zion are unique to our Church. They are songs that belong to a new time; they belong to a new era; they belong to our people. They are songs sent from the throne of God as a gift to The Church of Jesus Christ. They are inspirational and related to Christ and His promises of the latter-day times and events. This gift was given to our late Sister Arlene Buffington, as our songs of hope and joy, looking forward to the fulfillment of the kingdom of Zion, bathed in the latter-day glory of the restoration.
Today I’d like to consider No. 75 “WAVE THE FLAGS OF ZION” by looking at the meaning and application of the song, because it’s too easy to sing without paying attention to the words and their meaning.
It’s time for the young men to come to the aid of their country.
It’s time for young women who love the Lord to stand.
A battle is waging, our colors now have to be lifted.
Wave the flags of Zion on the mountains all over the land.
With Christ we find vict’ry, the hill we have loved we have taken.
The land of our fathers no longer held by sin.
The bells ring the message, the flags wave it all thru the nation.
The old hill of Zion has fell into our hands again.
An old ship for certain, her ancient woods weathered the ages.
The storms are behind her, the dark night seas are past.
Her banners were streaming while making for her destination.
The old ship of Zion lies safe in the harbor at last.
Wave the flags from the hilltops, from all of the rooftops,
From all where the flags ought to fly.
From all of the treetops, till all of the world stops,
While the Lord with His army goes by.
Let the joy break like thunder, with amazement and wonder
as our colors we proudly display.
It’s a baby, it’s a nation, it’s a brand new creation,
it’s the start of a brand new day!
©1983 Arlene Lea Buffington
The first verse is a call and a plea for the young men and women to serve the Lord and stand for Him. By way of a personal testimony…
Thirty-seven years ago on July 4, 1985, while gathering with a group of young people and talking about the blessings of God and our desire to serve Him and to be used in His Church, I heard an audible voice!
The backstory: No one knew that evening that I had been approached by the ministry of the Church regarding accepting the calling and ordination as an elder. But because I hadn’t received a direct revelation, I was very hesitant to accept and was holding off giving the ministry an answer until I was 100 percent confident in the calling and the timing.
That night however, I heard an audible voice! It was crystal clear and my heart was immediately touched, knowing it was from the Lord. I heard these words while the young people were sharing their excitement and love for Jesus, “It’s time for the young men to come to the aid of their country.”
While I was only 24 years old, I immediately knew that the Lord was speaking to me and calling me to serve the body of Christ as an elder in His church. That evening, I shared this experience with my wife and she too was convinced and convicted. The next evening, the same group of young people gathered in the home of a brother. I shared what had been on my heart (the backstory) and the words that I heard the previous night. We rejoiced together, we prayed together, we cried together—knowing that as young men and women, we all desired to help build His kingdom!
Yes, there have been and will be battles in life, decisions to make and forks in the road that require much fasting and prayer, but with Christ we find victory—sometimes immediate, sometimes not so immediate, but always victory.
As individuals, we battle against sin and unrighteousness, yet our focus and vision remain constant: We have been given the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, confirmed through the demonstration of the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. Through the restoration, we understand that Israel will be gathered and that Zion will be built. We understand that it starts with the Native peoples (the seed of Joseph) and it’s our joy and honor to “Wave the Flags” just as all the tribes of Israel did when they gathered with one heart to make David their king (1 Chronicles 12:22-40).
Singing this song stirs up an excitement and joy to “Wave the Flags” with one heart as The Church of Jesus Christ, young and old together, as we build His kingdom, His Church, His Zion, on this land.
May God bless us and help us to “Wave the Flags” every day and cause a stirring in our hearts, such that the figurative example of “her banners streaming while making for her destination,” helps us visualize the need for unity and righteousness, so that the “old ship of Zion” can lie safe in the harbor in our day and time.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.