The Capranica

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Location: Hemet, California, United States

Co-Pastor of First Baptist Church of San Jacinto, California

Sunday, July 03, 2005

America the Beautiful on the Lord's Day?

Today I will receive a host of comments because we are not singing any American patriotic songs in our worship services. Why not "America the Beautiful" on the Lord's Day? "O beautiful for pilgrim feet, whose stern, impassioned stress, A thorough-fare for freedom beat, Across the wilderness! America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law." What does this all mean? And why would I want to sing to America on the Lord's Day? I have often wondered about this (normally silently), trying to comprehend why it is we want to dress God in American clothing more arduously than we desire to see Americans clothed in Christ's righteousness? I will be accused of not being loyal to America, unpatriotic, unsupportive of our troops. All because we do not sing patriotic songs on Sunday. I have to wonder (now out loud) why it is that Christians want to celebrate our nation's birth on the one day during the week that we come apart from the world to focus our attention corporately on Christ? Isn't the forth of July tomorrow, not today anyway? I wonder how many Christians will think patriotic thoughts, sing patriotic songs and take time out on July 4th to actually pray for this country. No, in many minds, that is what Sunday is for. I raise my protest. Those who gather on the Lord's Day desperately need to be focused upon the Lord. We will pray for our country, our troops, the sins of our nation as well as the sins of our own hearts. But we generally do this every week. We do see America's need of Christ. That's why we focus on Christ, not America on EVERY Lord's Day. Instead of "America the Beautiful," or "My Country, Tis of Thee," we will be singing, "May Jesus Christ Be Praised:" "Ye nations of mankind, in this your concord find, May Jesus Christ be praised! Let all the earth around, Ring joyous with the sound: May Jesus Christ be praised." Be sure to read Michael Lawrence's article Salt and Light Inside the Beltway for a great article from a Southern Baptist Church just five blocks behind the Supreme Court.


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