Hi, I’m a Christian from Brazil. I read the news about the federal appeals court declaring the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional because of the words “under God.” I thought it would be interesting if you made a comment. God bless you all. Rev. Henrique P. Senra
Rev. Senra, I received a valuable lesson from the pledge thanks to the disciple, Peter. Let me explain.
Like most Americans, I was shocked because something near and dear was being stripped away. President Bush said it best, “I think this ruling is ridiculous.” One person doesn’t agree with our nation being “under God” so now all of us must give up our cherished rights? An outraged grandmother expressed out loud what many mumbled under their breath, “If he doesn’t like it, he can always leave.”
An outraged Peter drew a sword to defend his master in the garden of Gethsemane but Jesus stopped him. Later the same Peter would deny ever knowing Jesus, not once but three separate times.
“Live the Light!
Five Weeks to a Life that Shines!”
Since the judge’s ruling last week, politicians have taken extraordinary measures to defend the pledge. Representatives of Congress gathered on the front steps of the capital building to recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” and Senators unanimously passed a resolution supporting “under God.”
Shortly after Jesus rose from the dead, He said to Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me…?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. (John 21:15)
Confession time: When was the last time you recited the “Pledge of Allegiance” for personal use? Have you ever explained the meaning of the pledge to your children or grandchildren or anyone? When was the last time you talked about what it means to live as an American “under God?” Do you look for opportunities to discuss your faith in God with a friend or co-worker? Ouch! This hurts!
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, “do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. (John 21:16)
Peter made the biggest mistake of his life and could see no future with God yet here was Jesus offering him another chance. But first Peter must learn the difference between defending and following. We too, could be making a big mistake. We assume our task is to defend God: A noble undertaking but wrong. God does not desire or need our defense. So what does God want from us?
Once more he asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord you know everything. You know I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep…” After a moment, Jesus told Peter, “Follow me.” (John 21:17-19)
We cannot adequately defend God until we are ready to follow God. Peter would never be the same after this encounter with Jesus. He became a great leader of the church and a willing martyr for God.
· Confess your shortcomings and ask God’s forgiveness. Join a prayer group or Bible study.
· Actively look for ways to recite and teach the “Pledge of Allegiance” to others.
· Volunteer your time with a school or civic organization as a way to witness your faith.
· Pray for our judges and elected officials to hear and follow the will of God.
Sandra Smith wrote: “At noon each day, wherever we are, let us stop for a minimum of five minutes and pray for our country and our world. Know that as you do, there are probably thousands of other people in your time zone doing exactly the same thing. Ideas become stronger when they are shared, and so do prayers. Do what you can to let others know about the noontime prayer vigil, both here and abroad. Ultimately we will create a blanket of prayer that encircles the world. Let us begin today.”
Rev. Senra, I learned that it is one thing to recite the pledge of allegiance but following it is more important. May God help me. “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.” Amen.