dotCommonweal wades into open book territory with a “liturgy post” on a topic discussed here before: the music selections at Mass on or near a national holiday. In a very posse-like way, two things have happened. Comments are now into the 30’s, quite high for that web page. Also, the thread has lurched into variations on the theme of how bad the St Louis Jesuits are. (As a side note, PDQ Bach could do wonders with that theme.)
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 sacred shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
Oh hear my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.
A bride once requested this hymn at her wedding. What do you think of that?
I will confess I’ve delegated the music for tomorrow morning’s Mass to our organist and one of our better cantors. This hymn isn’t in our books, so they’ll probably use “America the Beautiful” for the end of Mass instead.
Just as an aside, when I visited the children’s ward at my Tuesday night ministry, I asked them the significance of tomorrow’s holiday. One child knew tomorrow as the “Fourth of July,” and two kids guessed that this was significant because it was Jesus’ birthday. One child knew the words to the national anthem pretty well, though. I was impressed. My chief patriotic song of the session was this classic. Wikipedia tells this tale:
Its lyrics were written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 on an existing melody, in response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” which Guthrie considered unrealistic and complacent. Tired of hearing Kate Smith sing it on the radio, he wrote a response originally called “God Blessed America for Me”. Guthrie varied the lyrics over time, sometimes including more overtly political verses than appear in recordings or publications.
Whatever song you sing tomorrow, be you patriot or radical, celebrate the freedom God has blessed for us. Even if you aren’t an American, please know that our beating hearts share with your beating hearts hopes and dreams for freedom and goodness.