When I was young, we began each school day by standing up straight with right hand over our hearts, and eyes fixed on our country’s flag, proclaiming together,
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
More than a mere ritual, this pledge has profound meaning that brings us together. It is a quick and to the point affirmation of who we are and our chosen loyalties:
“I pledge allegiance…” – I, an individual responsible for making informed choices, take a stand and make this solemn life oath.
“to the flag…” – The emblem of freedom, whose broad stripes and bright stars represent the commitment and sacrifice needed to preserve it.
“of the United States of America…” – United, not divided, separate in autonomy but bound together in common benefit of its citizens.
“and to the Republic for which it stands…” – A sovereign country which gives power to duly elected officials to represent the people according to the law which is based on the country’s constitution.
“one nation under God…” – A nation of people, if not submitted to the absolute authority of God in it’s legislation, justice, and executive oversight, would become simply and tragically, “One nation gone under.”
“indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” – Indivisible even in consideration of diverse heritages and personal preferences, where all lives matter precisely because of the overriding protection of liberty and justice for all people.
Our present version of The Pledge was passed by congress on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, and introduced to the nation by President Eisenhower who then stated,
“From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty…. In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.”
It seems the Pledge of Allegiance has fallen out of favor in recent years, challenged on many fronts by groups who want to remove the reference to God or the idea of a unified oath by such a diverse population. But as recently as last year, New Jersey Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman ruled that “…the Pledge of Allegiance does not violate the rights of those who don’t believe in God and does not have to be removed from the patriotic message.” he added, “As a matter of historical tradition, the words ‘under God’ can no more be expunged from the national consciousness than the words ‘In God We Trust’ from every coin in the land, than the words ‘so help me God’ from every presidential oath since 1789, or than the prayer that has opened every congressional session of legislative business since 1787.”
I suppose the fight to remove the focus on God from the pledge will continue, just as there will also always be a remnant who will hold faithful to it regardless of future legislation. And so likewise might our religious rights, though guaranteed by our founding fathers, come under increasing attack.
I wonder what would happen if millions of Christians would begin each day with a solemn pledge of allegiance, not just to country, but to their one and only living God. Imagine a land where we put differences aside and unite together as one to proclaim God’s greatness and goodness and sovereignty.
What would happen if just you and I not only pledge allegiance but actually surrender everything to God each morning and throughout the day, submitting even our goals and ambitions to his will, not our own? What if we stood up, committed to walked a straight path each day, with hearts and eyes and agendas fixed firmly on Jesus, the Author of our faith, anticipating his very next prompting in our lives? Can you imagine the transformation that would come from such devotion? Can you picture a day surrendered to such a pledge?
You don’t have to imagine. Today on Flag Day, you can choose to begin this day and every day with your own pledge to be wholly and holy owned by the Lord of all nations, now and forever, on earth…as it will be in heaven.