A couple of times now I’ve been given the honor of speaking and offering a prayer at citizenship ceremonies in Chief Magistrate Judge Erin L. Wiedemann’s courtroom. People from all over the world are there to take the oath to become US citizens. It’s an emotional time. I can’t help but think of the places I’ve worked over the years where many of these people are coming from, what they’ve endured to get here, the expense and difficulty they’ve overcome to be able to take the oath. It reads like this: I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
Those are pretty powerful words. I wonder what they mean to those of us who were born here and have never had to consciously “renounce and abjure” allegiance to another country or power. How easy it can be for us to assume we are fulfilling our duty as citizens.
In this week’s text Jesus, in the way Jesus does, asks His disciples about their “citizenship,” centering in who they think He is. And while Peter says the right words, his actions show he really doesn’t understand what that means. Do we? Let’s dig in this week and see what we can find.
Grace and peace, y’all,
John Ray and the teaching team