I caught myself humming this morning...Oh beautiful for spacious skies for amber waves of grain...I am still moved singing, reciting or even thinking those words, those lyrics. When I observe the division and conflict in our nation I am convinced that we have forgotten what a beautiful and blessed place this is. It is perhaps difficult to bridge the gap from some of the dirtier and broken places in our country to that purple mountain majesty. And before it registers in your thoughts I will just say, my affection for this place called America does not keep me from seeing her troubled spots, her flaws, if you will. Anyone who says that our nation is and has been evil is just unwilling to look honestly at our history. The same could be said about anyone who says, oh we’re perfect. History shows our flaws also. There is another line in that song (America the Beautiful), that is insightful and powerful.It is less well known because it is sung less often, the verse something like this,
O beautiful for pilgrim feet, Whose stern impassioned stress,
A thoroughfare for freedom beat, Across the wilderness,
America! America!,God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.
Our freedom, precious as it is, has not been perfectly lived out. However, it is still so wonderfully attractive that millions long to come and enjoy it from every corner of the globe. If the freedoms we have enjoyed, continue into the years in front of us it will be a result of an impassioned heartbeat of freedom combined with God’s carful mending of our ‘every flaw’. He has shed His grace on us, from sea to shining sea. And so on this week when we celebrate our nations birthday, we can confidently and humbly pray, God bless America, again.
If you don’t have other plans, please join us for worship this sunday @10am. We will be at the Civic Center just off Hiway 174. We’ll be looking for you.