This word, Indivisible, is seldom used in common conversation. It means “incapable of being divided.”
The only instance of use I can recall is in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance when it refers to the indivisibility of the nation’s states from one another. The pledge has gone through several iterations since the original version was issued in 18921. This first version was over 100 years after the publication of the Federalist Papers2, a series of essays which argued for the centralization of government under the proposed Constitution in opposition to the decentralization form of government favored in the Articles of Confederation. This first draft of the pledge came a mere 27 years after the formal end of the American Civil War, a key intent and impact of which was to divide.
And here we are…today. Indivisible??? The evidence of experience and observation tells us that indivisibility is an ideal that is extremely hard to realize within the human community at every level at which we function: within ourselves, within our families, within our affinity group(s), within our societies, within our nation, and across nations. Divisibility seems more present, even omnipresent, when compared to indivisibility.
Why is that? Sometimes we fail to notice or acknowledge the most foundational precepts in life, and like anything else, when we get the foundation wrong the building will never be quite right.
Here’s one of those foundation stones:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. [Therefore] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
There’s an invitation in this part of the foundation established by GOD. He is saying to humanity, His greatest creation, “I am one. I am in complete unity within Myself. I am indivisible. There is no separation, no conflict, no division within Me, only perfect peace, perfect wholeness. I am inviting you to join Me in this unity by attaching yourself to Me with unreserved love.”
Some might say that this invitation was issued to a select audience, national Israel, but Jesus universalized it the New Testament with explicit statements, affirming it as the greatest of all the commandments (Matt. 22:37) and praying for it to be normalized in our lives (John 17:20-2, 26).
Others might say that it is impossible to love this way, and I would agree if it’s left up to me or you, by ourselves. But Jesus was careful to teach that with GOD, nothing is impossible (Luke 5:37) and if we hunger for it, GOD will give us the enablement to do in His power what we cannot do in our own (Psalm 37:4; Matthew 5:6).
Of course, there are those who just don’t or won’t believe, and there’s not much that can be said to them because faith is the precondition for all life in GOD (Hebrews 11:16).
The invitation to this indivisible way of being has been there all along, not hidden and often widely shared in the traditional venues of Christian worship, and sometimes beyond. Why have we ignored it?
We’re a long way from the 1st century A.D. (or C.E. if you prefer) when the infant Church responded to this invitation with almost greedy devotion. It was largely because of their unceasing commitment to the ultimate indivisibility, revealed in loving relationship with GOD and others irrespective of economic class, social status, gender or ethnicity, that I’m able to comment on it here. My desire, however, is to live it more than talk about it much like they did. It’s foundational.
- The Pledge of Allegiance. Historic Documents. ushistory.org
- Federalist Papers: Primary Documents in American History. Library of Congress Research Guides. loc.gov>federalist-papers>full -text
© Byron L. Hannon, 2020. All rights reserved to text content except where otherwise noted.