To whom do you pledge your allegiance?
When they play the National Anthem, do you sit? stand? lock arms? kneel? put hand over heart? Do you sing? remain silent? Can you remember all the words? Can you reach all the notes? I’m pretty sure we’ve never given it so much consideration as a nation as we are doing right now. What does our flag and our National Anthem mean to us? to you?
Apparently, according to these Washington Post writers, it’s tradition. And tradition, these days, doesn’t go unaddressed, unchallenged or unopposed. So, if it’s so controversial, why not just begin with “Play ball!”? or at the ref’s whistle, the buzzer sounding or the starting gun?
Apart from the Olympics, when competitors gather, they are competing individually and/or perhaps for a team. Rarely do they suit up to represent their nation. And when they do — at least in the US of A — the only thing that’s similar about them is their uniform. Hair color, eye color (and sometimes eye multi-color — looking at you, Max Scherzer), skin color, body shape, size and distribution, tattoos, piercings, facial hair, facial features… I need not go on. We are a very un-uniform bunch. Even in uniform.
So, that’s got me thinking, as we stand before the game we’ve trained to compete in – as I stand before the game I’ve trained to compete in — whether it’s sports or academics, if it’s wall street main street, or putting on my game face for the rush hour traffic that’s sure to confront me — to what or whom do I pledge my allegiance? to what do we devote our effort? to whom do we commit ourselves in our day to day games?
Yes, for these professional athletes, this team, this game, this season is what they signed up for. This is their day job. This is how they earn their (very large) paycheck. I have no such obligation.
Or do I?
Scripture tells me that I was bought at a price. It wasn’t a bribe or a payoff or a paycheck, for that matter. It was a sacrificial offering, given without strings attached. Still, it was alot. It was everything. I was very expensive. God paid top dollar for me.
So, as I stand on the sidelines of my life, waiting to take the field for today’s game, what does my posture say about the allegiance I hold?
If you saw me there, would you know who I play for? Would I stand, sit or kneel? Would I remove my cap and put my hand over my heart? Would I look to my jersey or my colleagues to know whose team I was on? If the national anthem played, would I sing it?
It’s a good question: the game is about to start, who do you play for?