Friday, May 14, 2004

The One True King 

I pledge allegiance to the flag and that evokes a certain state of mind, a respect for what America stands for and has stood for over the past couple hundred years, a pride in my father’s service, an admiration in my ancestors’ hard work in taming the land, a personal commitment to do what I think best for the country and a conviction that America is the best place in the world to raise my children. This is not a post about the Pledge of Allegiance. Despite my oath of fealty, I know American can be wrong, can go down ridiculously stupid paths, can be downright evil. This is not a post about Abu Ghraib prison, or about the War in Iraq, or about any other of the reasons some give to hate America. Even though my allegiance is with America, I am not blind to my personal responsibility to do right no matter the direction my country gives or goes.

Do you remember when Robin Hood first encounters Little John? They fight over a brook with staffs each beating the other severely, but Little John (who is actually John Little) ends up knocking Robin into the river. Afterward, Robin asks Little John to join him and his men. Little John swears his allegiance to Robin Hood and the Merry Men. But this is not a post about Robin Hood.

Lancelot was invincible and yet he swore an oath of fealty to the One True King, Arthur. Superman, in the comics, has the power to destroy, or rule the world, but he serves instead. But this isn’t a post about Sir Lancelot or about Superman. This is a post about my next RCIA question: Who is Jesus for you?

No, I am not saying that Jesus is like Robin Hood, or Lancelot, or Superman, or America. As an American, I have to go back many generations before any of my ancestors would have bowed down before royalty, it's just not in my blood anymore. As a person, I have never been one who follows but usually go my own way. Making close friends of people I meet is more the exception than the rule. I’m not one who shares troubles easily. When I think of Jesus I think of someone who had the power to rule but instead served. I watched a little of “The Agony and the Ecstasy” last night about Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. The Pope was portrayed as a pompous ass, going about with people tossing coins in his wake, people feared him and made fun of him behind his back. Who could ever imagine Jesus putting on airs or posturing in any way. When I think of my relationship with Jesus, I think of Little John and Lancelot, swearing fealty to someone they could defeat because that someone had Right on his side. We, each of us, can easily defeat Jesus. It is a simple choice to make. Just choose not to believe and he is defeated, by you. But here I am, on one knee, my sword thrust in the ground, saying, “I am yours.” When I think of Jesus, I think of all my ancestors who put their lives in his hands, of all the brilliant, powerful, and saintly people who have gone before me who believed. I think of my children and the generations to come and how they will look upon my life and my faith, and how I want to blaze a trail for them to follow. Unlike anything Man can ever be, Jesus has no wrong in him, he goes down no wrong paths and evil has no dominion in his heart. I can swear blind fealty to this Lord. I can follow him. I can tell him anything and it changes him not at all. He is the perfect country in which to live, he is the perfect Lord to serve, he is the perfect friend to trust, the One True King to follow.

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