Then—In 1892 Francis Bellamy wrote: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Indivisible, undivided, all for one and one for all—inspiring and idealistic words for a young nation. They challenged justifications for the Civil War, described the America of both World Wars, and solidified us in the Cold War. The words evoke visions of families huddled around radios and, later, black and white televisions. Families huddled a lot back then.

Young and old met around the family table—at the same time—to eat the same food. The meal generally began with a prayer, followed by animated conversation, bad manners, and sibling spats.

Now—Our country is fractured by disunity—political, cultural, racial, and sexual clashes fill our papers and pepper our conversations. Chasms of opinion seem uncrossable. When we sit at a meal with family or friends we are careful of our speech, cautious of hot topics, wary of being misunderstood.

Inadvertently, the family table teaches rules of conversation, respectful dialog, and tolerance for the opinions of others. Parents scold children for name-calling, spiteful words, and disrespect, and lessons are learned for the larger world.

In Eternity—We will sit at the great banquet table in perfect harmony. We will learn from and be stimulated by one another. No words will be spoken from pride. No speech will emanate from self-importance. No bitterness will color our conversation. No opinions will reflect bias or discrimination. Every word will bless and give life, edify and encourage, illuminate and educate. Let’s practice for that day around our tables now.

In the meantime

  • Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Rom. 14:19
  • Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Thess. 5:11
  • Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Col. 3:12-14