My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

pledging allegiance

It's Vacation Bible School week at our church. I only know this because my sister-in-law is deeply involved with it and I had lunch with her last Friday. It happens during the work day so I can't be involved and Austin... well, he doesn't get up early enough to participate.

I loved VBS growing up. I loved teaching VBS as a grownup. I loved having my kids involved. It's just a great time for the ministry focus of the church to be on little ones. I would go out on a limb and say that anyone who ever participated in VBS as a kid has had *some* kind of impact on their life because of it.

It bothers me a little that our church doesn't say the "pledges" at the start of the assembly. In "olden days" one kid would parade into the sanctuary carrying the American flag, one kid would carry the Christian flag and one would carry the bible and you would say a pledge to each one.

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.

I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands, one brotherhood uniting all Christians in service and in love.

I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God's Holy Word and will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path and will hide it's words in my heart that I might not sin against God.

That was all from memory so I might be a little bit wrong. The thing is... as a kid... I believed those pledges. They were my truth... my optimism... my security about the world around me. As I 've grown and faced the stark reality of the world around me, I understand that those pledges are optimistic and unrealistic and ... not true for most people.

I think there is a growing majority of people who don't even own a bible, much less know what it says. People who know what it says choose to ignore it. People doubt it's validity and relevance in the world today. People pick and choose what parts of it they want to adhere to it. There are so few people, even Godly people, who "hide it's word in their heart" by memorizing scripture.

And how many Christians are really united? How many different faiths do we have here in America? How many different divisions of denominations that have split and re-split... how many churches are divided within themselves - some want only hymns played, some want modern praise music - we are not united as Christians, we are not one brotherhood. And sadly, we don't "serve" as we should.

The pledge of allegiance to the American flag... why do we even bother with it? NBC left out the part "under God"... and honestly... that was true... we are not a nation under God. We have forgotten the scripture that says, "if my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray... then will I hear from Heaven and heal their land". If ever our world was in need of healing it is now. There is so much unrest. So much suffering. So many wars and rumors of wars and homelessness and hungry. There are so many people who have so much who don't hear the cries of those who are doing without. There are people who have given up on finding a job and embraced poverty and government assistance. Our flag means to many an object of tyranny, an object of disgust.

Indivisible? We've never been more divided. Red state, blue state, hate hate hate. We don't have liberty - we can't even board an airplane without being physically violated. In the name of protection, we have turned into a nation of fear and control... down to what light bulbs we can use in our homes. There isn't justice for all... there is justice based on your wealth. There is justice based on the color of your skin. There is justice based on your sexual orientation. But there is not liberty and justice for all.

So I guess it doesn't make sense to have another generation of VBS attendees learn those pledges. Our world has changed and we need to raise our kids - not necessarily to know all the answers but to know the God who does. We need to raise our kids with confidence in the strength and power of a Savior who loves them and is always there for them. We need to teach them a bold faith, a bold truth, and unwavering spirit. The world around us is changing. Wrong is made right and right is made fun of.

Maybe we should pledge allegiance to the Cross... it's our hope and our future... it's what keeps me from falling apart in a storm tossed world. It's what enables me to get out of bed every morning and face a day that I know will involve physical pain... because I know I will receive a fresh anointing of grace from Him.

What do you pledge allegiance to? Where is your hope, your truth? What gives you purpose and strength?

Have a beautiful Tuesday. Love and hugs!


Terri said...

My kids have done VBS for as long as they were old enough. Now they help work it. This year my youngest (the one that was attacked by a dog) helped first grade. This was her fist year to get to help and she was so excited. She could only help monday and tuesday because she had to go to twirl camp. It was mandatory. She was sad but I filled in for her the rest of the week. My oldest helped second grade. She looks forward to helping every year. I have always prayed that I am raising my kids right, and they amaze me by wanting to help where they can at church. Looks like I, with the help of God, am doing ok.
We still pledge the american flag, christian flag and the bible.

Anonymous said...

We have VBS next week ~ we always look so forward to it. We still say the pledges (you did remember them correctly :) but I may make a point of breaking them down in my class to see that the kids understand the pledges. I remember those little round butter cookies and small cups of koolaid ~ we do mini meals here since it is around supper time, so my adult memories of VBS include fried egg sandwiches that one of the little old ladies at church still brings every year. I believe too that every person who ever attended VBS as a child has some little part of VBS still with them.