I remember saying The Pledge of Allegiance as a kindergartner, my tiny hand placed somewhere in the vicinity of where my heart supposedly was attached and beating, doing my best to get through the string of long words that made absolutely no sense.
Can you blame me for thinking it was “Witchit Stands” and “Invisible?”
Now, it hurts my heart to think on those same words, knowing full well what they mean, but recognizing how far away from them we’ve become.
Rather than one nation, under God, indivisible, we’ve become a nation undoubtedly divided. We have the red and the blue, yes, but they are deeply separate. Faith has not fallen away completely, but secularism is spreading, doing its best to make the very source of our existence, God, invisible. And I think most would agree we have reached a point of stark divisibility.
That is reality. Turn to social media during a major national event, like the recent political debates, and it’s clear we are one nation having two different conversations. What one half thinks is brilliant, the other finds ridiculous. What causes one side to break out into enthusiastic cheers, the other jeers.
Truth be told, I think these divisions have been around for a while now, seething just below the surface, waiting to break through. And now, they have. It is troubling, and yet somehow, naming it, acknowledging it is worth something.
We are no longer in pretend mode. We know that our nation contains two major factions that are becoming more prominent, more distinguished every day. The issues that affect our lives on a deep level are demanding they announce themselves, calling them to the surface, challenging who we are and what we’re about.
We are like two people talking to one another in a different language, each completely misunderstanding what the other is about and failing to see that, in the end, we really do want the same things, but each is choosing a different route.
Another uncomfortable fact: though gray matter exists, each stance contains varying degrees of right and wrong. We are having to decide where we see the most in each and move in the direction of the most right, the most truth.
I could go on and on about how troubled all this makes me, not because not everyone agrees with how I see things but because a truly healthy discussion doesn’t even seem possible anymore.
At the point of this realization, there is only one place to go for solace: the feet of Jesus.
How do we resolve this? Where is this going? Where are you, Lord? Will you intervene? What will it take to make us come back together again?
Lord, show us your mercy. Break through the division in which your children find themselves. Help us to be able to have a respectful discussion once again. Give us a way to see your face as we look into the eyes of our neighbor with whom we are at odds.
God, please bless America. Show us what we have not been able to see. Give us hope and clear direction.
You alone can bring us back to our senses, to help us love again, to give us a way to have a conversation not marked with bitterness and misunderstanding, but a common goal.
Only you, God. I will be watching for your answer.