“America! America! May God they gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine.”
These words by Samuel Ward are part of the third verse of “America, The Beautiful.” They serve to remind us, as does the entire poem (song), that ours is an imperfect experiment in democracy. But it is an experiment which from the beginning was offered to God for His blessing. Our founding fathers and many leaders since their day realized that a nation can not long endure which has hedonism as its only religion and selfishness as its only motive. There are many forces in our land that are stressing freedom from religion and will not be satisfied until the name of God is removed from the lips of every citizen. Of course we must stand firmly against this determined attempt by a small minority. But let me suggest something even more important. When God sent the Prophet Amos to prophesy doom to His own people who had cut themselves loose from God’s leadership, he found them still keeping up the pretense of formal worship, so he thundered, “Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, and righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:23-24). God has no delight in our hand wringing over the departure of some cherished traditions. What pleases our God, as we find ourselves 239 years removed from our founding as one of the greatest nations ever, is to find his own people aggressively practicing what they preach. It is God who decides the fate of nations, not disenchanted pressure groups. Perhaps He will allow ours to continue. Perhaps not. But let’s offer Him through our committed and unashamed lifestyles a reason for America to continue.
“America! America! God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law!”
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship