Saturday, July 4, 2009

On Our Nation's Birthday

We celebrate the 233rd birthday of the United States of America today. The biggest birthday party of the year began with yesterday as a holiday for many of us and will continue through Sunday. The USA is the most wonderful nation on the planet. Our freedom and independence came from the boldness, character and sacrifice of a group of men and women who were called rebels by the British Crown. Now we call them patriots! Our freedom was envisioned by thinkers and dreamers, won by citizen soldiers who took up arms to oppose tyranny, and preserved by thousands more throughout the next 23 decades, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Linda and I have been busy this weekend moving furniture and she has done quite a bit of redecorating. (I'm not too good at that part). Last night I took two of the grandsons (along with a couple of other friends) to Cincinnati for a game between the Reds and the league leading Cardinals of St. Louis. We thrilled to a spectacular fireworks extravaganza after the game (having earlier endured Albert Pujols' fireworks DURING the game). Mom and Dad officially marked their sixth decade as husband and wife yesterday, and we will all probably attend a fourth of July celebration at the home of my brother, Bruce later this afternoon. I'll be preaching on "Unity" in tomorrow morning's worship service, and the church will get together for an ice cream social tomorrow evening. There are festivals, concerts, tournaments, and all sorts of other activities available all over America this weekend. My prayer is that my little grandsons, their generation, and generations still to come, will not lose sight of the simple yet profound truths of what America has been and what she has stood for for more than two centuries. May they continue to be taught and remember the Godly heritage that has brought us thus far.

Today I would just like to share the words of Katherine Lee Bates, from her beautiful hymn, "America The Beautiful". Take a moment to read anew the familiar words, and let us take inventory as to where we stand as a nation today - on our 233rd birthday.

"O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain.
For purple mountain majesty above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea.

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 with self control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for heroes proved,
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain Divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream,
That sees beyond the years.
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America! god shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea."

Happy birthday USA. May God shed His grace upon us, now when it is so badly needed. May we, as a nation, seek the face of our creator and turn back to Him.

No comments: