One of my favorite national songs is Samuel Francis Smith’s My Country, ‘Tis of Thee. I like it because of the progression it makes from beginning to end. Here’s what I mean.
In the first verse, we’re singing about our country, the “sweet land of liberty.”
My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing:
land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride,
from every mountainside let freedom ring.
In the second verse, we’re listing the reasons we love our country.
My native country, thee, land of the noble free, thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills, thy woods and templed hills;
my heart with rapture thrills like that above.
The third verse is a call for all of us to join together in giving thanks for the gift of our land.
Let music swell the breeze, and ring from all the trees sweet freedom’s song.
Let mortal tongues awake; let all that breathe partake;
let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.
The fourth verse is the high point of the hymn, were we are acknowledging God as the source of our freedom and we ask him to preserve the freedoms we enjoy. It is an acknowledgement that he is sovereign in our lives and in our land.
Our fathers’ God, to thee, author of liberty, to thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light;
protect us by thy might, great God, our King.
In the next week, you’ll likely be celebrating Independence Day with family and friends. I encourage you to think of this great hymn and make the same progression in your thanksgiving. We do live in a great country. Think of the freedom we have and praise God! But, don’t stop there. Use the next few days as an opportunity to renew your commitment to the one who is your King.
Yours in Christ,