[First Person] From pledge to prayer

I consider myself a “both/and” kinda person and don’t get stuck into the “either/or” flow. Let me see if I can explain. You see, when someone asks do I want steak OR chicken, I respond, “BOTH! Steak and chicken.” When we are eating dinner at home, I’m asked, “Do you want a spoon or fork?” My response is always “Both! You never know when you’ll have to sip up what you cut up.” Stripes or solids? I’m both.  

So recently while I was attending one of my son’s chapel services, the “both/and” thought surfaced in a place I had never thought of before. While doing the Pledge of Allegiance this phrase resonated with me: “…one nation, under God, INDIVISIBLE…” I kept saying the word over and over again in my mind, indivisible…indivisible…cannot be divided…should not be divided and WILL NOT be divided.   

At that point, a picture of our federal government flashed in my mind. Having visited our nation’s capital, I have seen the floor of the House of Representatives. There are many chairs, created the same way, housed in ONE room, under ONE roof, representing ONE country. But are we really ONE? 

Paul says in his letter to the church at Philippi that he desires that that church would “make [his] joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” Isn’t THAT the same as being indivisible? In my mind, that’s steak AND chicken.  

While I am steak and chicken, spoon and fork, stripes and solids, I am also American and Christian. That day when I stood in chapel, a place where we worship our Lord, I also stood and made a pledge to our country. But after reflection, I did more than pledged, I prayed.  

To some people the Pledge of Allegiance is just that, a pledge, a desire, a good try. But to those of us who are “both/and,” American and Christian, our pledge becomes our prayer. Paul desired it via the letter to the Philippians, Jesus even prayed it to His Father in John 17:21, that they may be indivisible as you and I are indivisible. (That’s from the Neal Tried Translation). 

Oh Lord, may our pledge be turned into a prayer. And may it manifest in our country and every country around the world that declares Jesus as Lord.  

Now…in “both/and” fashion, let me stop and go.  

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