Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth of July Folks!

Growing up down South, the 4th was a rite of passage for the summer. It was right around that fourth that we’d start harvesting large ripe tomatoes (that were quickly converted into delicious sandwiches), watermelons so ripe the juice would drip down on my tanned chest (the best watermelon eating was done without a shirt), and heavenly sweet corn that was slathered with butter and gnawed off the cob. But up here, the corn ain't quite waist high, tomatoes still have a few weeks to go, and the only melons available have been imported. Still, it’s a time to celebrate our nation’s birthday and ideals.

I’m a bit of a heretic. I’d like us to change our national anthem to something that can be sung by non-musical buffoons like me. My choice would be “God of the Ages,” the National Hymn, which was penned as “God of our Fathers” in 1876 for our nation’s centennial. It was originally sung to the tune “Russian Hymn” but it got its own tune even before the Bolshevik Revolution. Personally, I like the newer version, “God of the Ages,” which better focuses on the eternal nature of God and not just on our ancestors. This past Sunday, in the church I usually attend, this hymn was sung. A pipe organ, grand piano and trumpet provided the music. It was moving to join with the voices of others, giving thanks to God for the blessings we enjoy.

1. God of the ages, whose almighty hand
leads forth in beauty all the starry band
of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,
our grateful songs before thy throne arise.

2. Thy love divine hath led us in the past;
in this free land with thee our lot is cast;
be thou our ruler, guardian, guide, and stay,
thy Word our law, thy paths our chosen way.

3. From war's alarms, from deadly pestilence,
be thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
thy true religion in our hearts increase;
thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

4. Refresh thy people on their toilsome way;
lead us from night to never-ending day;
fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
and glory, laud, and praise be ever thine.

Be sure to keep AI and others who are deployed in hostile areas in your thoughts and prayers today and every day. Have a happy Fourth of July!


  1. Just curious...should one refer to religion in a national anthem?

    The spouse recently got on a tangent about God being mentioned on even our money to which my retort was: 'Then you are spreading the word of God by spending money'. This has yet to inspire him to start saving. :-)

  2. Happy Fourth to you too!

    Have a good one.

  3. That's very beautiful

    Would love this land is your land to be the national anthem

    Have a wonderful 4th

  4. You make the South sound like a culinary delight by the fourth of July.

    Probably affected by my faith heritage, I have mixed feelings about tying God and country together. So often it feels like we are asking God to bless us above all others in the world or that we are claiming that we are more righteous than all others. I don't think you are trying to say that; but this topic always makes me a bit uneasy.

  5. Happy Fourth, Sage, even if your tomatoes are too puny to enjoy today.

  6. Karen, i hope you had a good 'en

    Murf, I suppose I just don't like the National Anthem--and this idea of worshipping a flag bothers me. This hymn doesn't mention Christ, which would make it a bit more inclusive

    The Sentate Site, I see you are from Utah. I don't know how you got here, but if you come back, please let me know. I've only made a few smart remarks about Utah politics here, but when I use to have a column for a newspaper in Utah, you were fair game. And I'm not so sure I like what you did to the delicate arch.

    Pia, maybe we could make Woody's song the "National Folk Anthem!"

    Tim, the south can be a culinary delight most anytime--just don't judge southern food by Cracker Barrel's standards. I understand you're uneasiness, one reason I like the National Hymn is that it doesn't directly refer to the US and when it refers to the us, we're to follow God instead of asking God to bestow special favors.

    Kenju, enjoy a tomato sandwish for me, okay

  7. I was just at another blog where the song Coming to America by Neil Diamond was posted for the 4th.

    I've always prefered Amercia the Beautiful over "rockets red glare."

  8. Reading this I just realized I think I take good watermelon for granted.

    Hope you had a great 4th.

  9. Boy the separation of church and state zealots would have a field day with that suggestion. Although I would like America the Beautiful as my choice, it is almost as hard to sing vocal range wise as the Star Spangled Banner.

    Our country was born out of war and thus I feel that the Star Spangled Banner is also a fitting song.