Happy Memorial Day weekend, church family!
This time of year draws our hearts toward gratitude to God for the freedoms that are ours in this land that we call home, as well as gratitude for all of those who have served our nation in uniform to protect our cherished liberties. If that includes you, thank you.
Katharine Lee Bates, who penned the poem that became America the Beautiful, was an English professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. The year was 1893. At the age of thirty-six, on a train trip to Colorado to teach a summer session, Bates was overwhelmed by the beauty of these United States of America. From high atop Pike’s Peak, as she took in the breathtaking mountain vistas that we call the Rockies – Bates eloquently captured the grandeur of those “purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.”
On the pinnacle of that mountain, the words came to Katharine Bates, and she wrote down the now-famous lyrics upon returning to her hotel room at the original Antlers Hotel. America the Beautiful was first published in 1904.
In July of 2011, my family and I drove cross-country and traced some of Bates’ footsteps, and – as you can see in this photo – we traveled even farther north and west to Grand Teton National Park. America is beautiful indeed! We are a blessed people.
Please take the time this weekend to thank the Lord for our freedoms and gospel opportunities. Though we’re far from perfect as a nation – and every day is a reminder that our American home is not “home home” – we have much to celebrate.
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears:
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.
God has promised (Revelation 21:1-7): Even the most painfully wicked, unjust, and spiritually dark dimensions of human civilization and culture will one day be swallowed up in absolute perfection for all those who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. “The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”
The freedoms that we enjoy are ours because of Christ. They are gospel freedoms. Not privileges to squander, but sacred callings to take Christ’s light to the ends of the earth.