Wednesday, July 6, 2016

This is God's song; let it be ours as well

   Worship on Sunday was moving. I found myself caught off guard and moved in my spirit on three occasions during the hour we were gathered together, all in one place. Once was when Brig. General Sehorn spoke about every prisoner memorizing the names of over 400 fellow POW's, in the hopes that when one of them might be freed, they could return to the US and inform the 400 families that their loved ones were OK as of a certain date. That little detail struck a chord, as I thought about all of those families that went years without knowing anything good. Later, I was moved to tears as Jim described the moment on the USAF cargo plane headed out of North Vietnam that would carry hundreds of airmen home after years of brutal captivity and they stood to sing praise to God. That thought was still in my head on Monday night as our family sat on a grassy hillside watching the red glare of fireworks; our nation celebrates its 240th year of independence because of the intentional service and sacrifice of real men and real women.
   The other moment that moved me on Sunday happened before Jim's message, though. After singing The Star-Spangled Banner, Karen Clay had chosen for us to sing a moving tune that opened with,

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
- Lloyd Stone, composer

Stone wrote the opening two verses of the hymn we sang in the interval between WWI and WWII; he was 22 years old at the time. Halfway through these opening words I found myself unable to sing for a moment. I was struck; God hears the songs of many nations, God desires the hearts of every person, God longs for peace in every place, and the end of tyranny for all time. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers for the same. Grace and peace, Scott

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