I Have an Elder Brother . . . or . . . I pledge Allegiance to my King
Well, I say he is my brother, although actually I am adopted. I was born in an impoverished state, and although distantly related to my adopted brother on one side of the family tree (his mother's), I have no relation to his father, except through him.
While I am proud of my brother-by-adoption, I don't see him too much, for our life and lifestyles often diverge. You see, he is a King and a Great Lord of a nation, and thus his station is far removed from my humble origins. He is also a priest, the spiritual leader of his people, and has been known to give great prophetic utterances.
Frankly, I am lucky to be called his brother.
His mother's side was, like me, of humble origin, but she was the best, and most fair Lady of that entire side of the family. If it hadn't been for her, I don't suppose there would have been an adoption.
My brother, being a King, is owed allegiance by his people and, although I am a U.S. Citizen by birth, I ultimately owe him my true allegiance, being family-by-adoption. Blood is thicker than water, as they say.
Sometimes I forget that I am the adopted brother of a King, and fall into acting like someone who grew up in a rougher part of town - bad language, bad tastes, and all sorts of uncouth behaviors. I have to remind myself constantly that my life as it was is not at all becoming of being the adopted brother to a King. I'm often worried that my brother will one day tell me "I know you not" (like Prince Hal to Sir John Falstaff in the play by Shakespeare) if I don't clean up my act and start doing what he keeps asking me to do.
Not that he's a tyrant - he asks some seemingly simple things, you know? Feed the hungry, help the sick, and visit those in prison. Some things are harder - like praying unceasingly, or not striking back in anger when someone strikes you. But he doesn't ask for anything immoral or improper. He's not that sort of King.
Fairly regularly I get to gather in one of his many palaces where we await a brief audience with him. Usually there is a lot of pomp and ceremony surrounding these gatherings, as is fitting when a Great Lord comes to town. I rather like this and it reminds me just what sort of family I've been adopted into - it's a real honor to be there.
Surprisingly, my brother really doesn't care that I'm a U.S. Citizen, or a military servant of the U.S. So long as I know where my true allegiance lies, I think he's fine with that. Of course, so far this government hasn't expressly asked for me to deny him or something like that. Nevertheless, I worry that some day in the future he will be seen as sowing sedition in this country. It's happened to other countries from time-to-time. In the end, you can't have two sovereigns and one has to submit - some nations (or their leaders) just don't want to admit to doing that and become jealous of him and hate anyone who's associated with him. It's caused a lot of trouble in the past and it could happen here. In the end, he doesn't want us to fight about it - just don't deny him and our allegiance to him. He really doesn't want their power and their glory anyway, and he keeps reminding us that such things are empty.
Because there are a number of people out there in the world that don't like him and his people, sometimes it feels as if I'm out on a mission in enemy territory. It's sad to say it that way, but sometimes that's how it feels. One day he'll call me back in from field operations (so to speak), but for now I'm "on orders." But they are odd orders -
"do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages."
"He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise."
"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you."
"from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back."
"be merciful, just as your father is also merciful."
Sunday is Independence Day in this country - Independence from Great Britain, who ruled the Eastern States (then Colonies) for a little over a century. Now the U.S. and Great Britain are fast friends. It's a good country, ours - good land and generally peaceable. I was born here and owe a natural allegiance to the country of my birth as a result, and I am proud to serve its people.
But my adoptive brother rules a different Kingdom, and a far more important one. So this Sunday, I will go to his palace, bow my knee and make obeisance to Him, and make my allegiance known - I pledge allegiance to the King:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and of earth
and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-Begotten, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made;
Of one essence with the Father;
By Whom all things were made;
Who, for us me and for our salvation, came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man;
And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried.
The third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father, and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead;
Whose Kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, Who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead,
And the life of the world to come.