Wednesday, July 04, 2007

In God is our trust...

Over the last few days I've had the chance to participate in commemorative services reflecting on this nation. On two occasions, (one at a patriotic concert of All-American composers, and the other at Sacrament Meeting last Sunday) the audience stood and sang all verses of The Star-Spangled Banner. Now, I like many have problems singing the anthem as it is because it's range is well beyond my meager singing abilities and the lyrics don't always match up well with the notes, if you know what I mean...


I don't know what it is about the last verse, but every time I hear it sung or sing it, my voice starts trembling and I break up like a blubbering little baby and tears flow from my eyes... and I don't even know why. I looked around the audiences both times and I seemed to be the only one crying. What's wrong with me? Am I being overly sensitive? Is this a spiritual thing? Have I been duped by inculcated teachings of fabricated patriotism?

Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand

Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!

Blest with victory and peace may the heaven rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!"

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

I'm not very political and tend to keep such feelings to myself, but I ask that we pause for a moment and contemplate the words and meaning of this last verse! For whatever reason, I feel a great power and strength from these words.

Happy Independence Day!


santorio said...

i'd like to hear a sacrament meeting talk on the dangers of nationalistic pride. while we are all patting ourselves on the back for our material wealth (which is currently based on borrowed money) and our "freedoms" and "equality" (understanding that some of us more equal than others), we are the source of much of the death and destruction--environmental and otherwise--in the world.

so, no i don't get blubbery listening to the national anthem, instead i lament over a squandered potential

Beck said...

Like I said, I'm not being political or even thinking of nationalistic pride... I am concentrating more on the meaning of putting our "trust in God" in our own lives, and conquering our own internal wars that divide us that I was referring to.

Yes, there's a ton that is wrong with this nation and there's room to lament over "squandered potential", but can there not also be room for emotions of gratitude to God for personal blessings and faith ultimately in Him?

Santorio, I'm sorry for the bitterness of your remarks. I, too, am saddened by the follies and shortcomings of politics. But, let me have a space for my blubbery emotions (apolitical as I intend them to be!)...

Anonymous said...

I agree with you totally. I get goosebumps whenever I hear our national anthem and the last verse especially so. If there is one day we Americans can go totally nationalistic it is the 4th of July.

GeckoMan said...

Beck, I couldn't agree with you more. I was asked to sing at our ward July 4th breakfast yesterday, and I couldn't help but include the third verse with the well-known first verse of our national anthem. It is so full of righteous passion, which we seem to lack in these days of desperate terrorism and bad politics. I grabbed hold of that emotion while singing, and I hope it touched others, as it certainly touched me.

I also hope in the future that our country's leaders will re-assess and re-define "when our cause, it is just." Then may we trust in God for all of us to do what is right for humanity and to limit the toll of human suffering which is so rampant at this point in time.

May we as brothers "Let Freedom Ring" in all the cultural and spiritual diversity that God and men have created over time.

J G-W said...

Hmm. Me too. I sang in a multi-stake July 4th concert yesterday. The first time I have ever done anything so patriotic in my life.

As we sang all the traditional songs -- Battle Hymn of the Republic, Columbia Gem of the Ocean, Star-Spangled Banner, etc. -- I was struck with the irony. Our country is involved in some terrible, terrible things right now in Iraq and elsewhere, and our current government has betrayed so many of the fundamental ideals of our Constitution.

For me it is incredibly important to remind ourselves of the fundamental principles on which our freedom is based. So even though I was very aware of the many, painful ironies of being "patriotic" in today's America, I got goosebumps and more than a few tears as well.