By Pastor Tommy Rush, First Baptist Church
Sometimes I hear people say, “I’m just lucky to live in America.” It reminds me of an ad in a newspaper for a lost dog.
LOST: One dog. Brown hair with several bald spots.
Right leg broken from being run over, left hip injured from
dog fight; right eye missing and left ear chewed off. Recently castrated. Answers to the name “Lucky.”
That dog doesn’t sound very lucky to me. And I would not say that I’m lucky to live in America. I would actually say that I’m blessed to live in America! We all know the country has plenty of problems and it’s far from perfect. Someone recently shared with me that instead of praying for God to bless us, our prayer should be for God to forgive us. He is definitely in the process of changing us! But despite all the problems, America is still an awesome Nation filled with amazing people! In so many different ways, God’s grace has been with us throughout our 244 year history.
A great song that many enjoy on July 4th is “America the Beautiful.” The lyrics were written by Katherine Lee Bates in 1893. Miss Bates was an English professor at Wellesley College and had taken a trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado to teach a summer session at Colorado College. I’m not sure of all the specific details, but during her train trip from Massachusetts to Colorado, she had the opportunity to see much of the beautiful landscape of America. In her journal, she described the sight of many rivers and lakes, grain fields of America’s heartland and the majestic mountains of Colorado.
She wrote the words to the poem after standing on the top of Pikes Peak and experiencing an unforgettable view of the Great Plains. The Congregationalist, a weekly journal first published the poem on July 4, 1895. The words remind us that we are far from lucky, we are blessed!
“O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountains majesties Above the fruited plain! America! America!
God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!”
The second stanza reminds us that we need God to “mend our every flaw.” I hope we all enjoy celebrating America this weekend. Take some time to read or sing “America the Beautiful.” Even better, lift up a prayer for our nation. Ask God to mend our every flaw and provide His goodness and grace from sea to shining sea!