Monday, July 5, 2010

Yesterday's Spiritual Message: And This be Our Motto - Thoughts from the 4th of July

I love Independence Day.  Not because of the eponymous movie with Bill Pullman or even because of Ray Charles singing America the Beautiful in The Sandlot.

No, I love the Fourth of July because it gives me a chance to think and reflect upon the great blessing I enjoy to live in the greatest nation on this earth.

What other modern nation enjoyed freedom from monarchy and dictatorship any sooner than the United States?  Which country previously had such an inspired Constitution or balanced form of governance, in which the lead sovereign would agree to step down at the end of his term!  What other fledgling nation faced such great odds (the greatest army and navy in the world, at the time) and yet still prevailed?

It is my firm belief and witness that this greatest nation was founded by God, for our benefit.  At its inception, how many nations enjoyed freedom from religious persecution?  Where else could a layman profess a different set of beliefs than the state church and not expect severe oppression, if not death?

Yet, after so many years of open and avid thanks to God, I feel we have drifted far from our founding Rock and Pillar.  In church yesterday, as we closed our Sacrament Meeting (principally where we think of Christ and partake of "The Sacrament," which many refer to as Communion or The Lord's Supper), we sang The Star Spangled Banner, and this verse really stood out to me:

Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r 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!

Is "In God We Trust" still our motto or have we long since abandoned it?

The Lord has said, "[T]he laws and constitution of the [United States] I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles . . . And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood" (Doctrine and Covenants 101: 77, 80).

I sincerely hope and pray that we will not forget the "Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation," I know that God was the founder of this greatest nation; we will ever be blessed as we honor and worship Him through good and righteous living.


Steph said...

Wow, this is exactly how I felt yesterday too. We sang that song in Sacrament meeting as well and that verse stuck out to me for the very same reasons. I just wish everyone in this nation still believed it.

M Fletch Fotos said...

I had the same experience as Steph last Sunday.The Star Spangled Banner can be a difficult song to sing because of the wide range of notes...but combined with these special is indeed a Holy song. Thank you for this excellent focus. You helped me at this special time to remember with gratitude the great gift of this free country and the multitude of blessings we enjoy daily by living in this marvelous land.

I loved your choice of words and powerful photos.

I liked the great zoom on the words on the coin.

Christy said...

I'm so grateful that we live here. It really shows us that we have a lot to live up to since we were allowed to live in this great Nations. It's the greatest nation on God's green (and blue) earth.