IT IS OF THEE I SING
Time to get ready for the Fourth of July Celebration. Our National holiday.
So much beauty to celebrate! So much bounty to celebrate. So much hard work and reaping the fruit of our labors to celebrate! so much freedom!
Until recently, Americans were free to speak out what people have known for much more than a thousand years: Western Values truly are the best, most productive and freedom producing values worthy of the dignity of each individual human. Well, somebody said something like that more succinctly than I just did – but we mean the same thing.
The American “Experiment,” as it used to be called, is surely the sum total and crystallization of all those Western values, and it has produced citizens who are free to determine their own destiny and a nation which has enriched the world with its productivity, and inventiveness.
It’s still all true, but as I said, we’re a bit fearful to speak that right out loud right now. Enemies show us only our faults, and then exaggerate them as though we are characterized by our faults.
I was thinking about that today as I was experiencing a “strange” alien-type of church today. My body wouldn’t fall asleep last night, and this morning I was sick and tried to go to my usual place to adore the Living God — but I had to turn back and go home. Phoooey. And then I had to go to this substitute place — uh … theologians in the future can work out whether or not I made an okay decision. . . .
But here was their Sunday bulletin cover:
They had it all!
These are the concepts that built up a great nation!
This church even sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee . . .” (Sweet Land of Liberty . . .)
Second stanza, towards the end – you know the tune: (these were not naively dumb people who passed these words down to us; they knew reality) –
God mend thy every flaw
Confirm they soul
And liberty in law.
Whew! Imagine! Our grandparents and great-grandparents, and on back, the ones who brought us into this world, knew that America did have, does have, and would have flaws. Flaws which could be mended only with reference to God, because the flaws are that kind of defect, and if we don’t allow God to mend these flaws, these flaws will become fatal. Fatal flaws. O God, mend them.
“Confirm thy soul.” Those who came before us knew that there is more to America than material matters. Material simplicity or material prosperity – either way there is an American soul above and beyond material matters.
In just three generations we went from getting across our fields with a horse to getting to our moon with a rocketship. And I suspect the American farmer had the same values as our American inventors and scientists and astronauts.
May God confirm the goodness of our soul, the song says. And how?
In the virtue of “self-control.” Confirm our soul in the light of truth, sobriety, prudence, wisdom, and self-control.
And our “liberty”? Liberty is a good idea – an ideal – but an ideal goal only. Liberty is not a given. Our Founding Fathers told us we had to be vigilant, lest we lose it because we can lose it.
So, O God, confirm our Liberty too. How? With our laws. We are a nation of laws . . . not the laws of a king or a dictator who tells us he has “a pen and a cell phone” and can sign into “law” any un-American edict that he wants to impose on us.
Instead, we have a Constitution to guide those laws.
A miracle may be the work of the power of God, but God nearly always seeks out human beings who are alert and actively looking for that miracle. If you take time to refresh your patriotic knowledge this weekend, you will understand a little more of how much of a miracle America is (was).
The book called The 5,000 Year Leap is subtitled: A Miracle That Changed The World.
That’s us! That is (was) us. Is, I hope. It probably takes as much effort to get onto the moon as it does to hold on to the Western values which gave us liberty and prosperity. The author begins his book with the remark that it’s been said that it’s difficult for an artist to distinguish in his paintings a sunrise from a sunset.
That’s the book cover. I don’t know. Is that sun still rising on us – or setting on us?
At least I know the sun will rise tomorrow morning!
We’ve got time!