God Bless America

IMG_1914Just fifty years ago, John Wayne hosted a variety show celebrating AmericaThe contributors were among the most prominent voices of Hollywood, a panoply of stars who loved this nation, joining together to sing God Bless America. Today, most of those patriots are gone, their names and their fame lost to the newer generations. Unfortunately, they have now been replaced by a Godless community of celebrity voices that, for the most part, hate and bring shame to our country. 

Go back another fifty-two years to 1918, toward the end of World War I when Irving Berlin initially wrote God Bless America; he was one of the greatest songwriters the USA has even known. Like so many others who became citizens of this great nation, he was an immigrant who entered via Ellis Island in New York Harbor. He was only five years old when his family fled the extreme poverty, discrimination and brutal pograms of Imperial Russia. Clearly, he understood the value of freedom! But like so many others of both his and the succeeding generation, his is a name that is unknown to many younger people today.

What will history have to say fifty or a hundred years from now about our current crop of the rich and famous? Probably not much; they will become a pretty-much-forgotten footnote in history. We would all be wise to remember the absolute truth of the words of King Solomon:  

For the wise and the foolish both die. The wise will not be remembered any longer than the fool. In the days to come, both will be forgotten. (Ecclesiastes 2:16 NLT)

God Bless America should be more than a song that is commonly sung at the opening of sporting events; it should be a prayer expressed from the heart of every American. That said, I still have to wonder if it will be one of the aspects of major league sports that will be eliminated when those games resume because it is considered too dangerous for the emotional health of the nation; it is just too divisive for it speaks of God. As the ‘powers that be’ determine what ‘truth’ we can or cannot engage in, we would do well to remember that the ultimate authority is God. Political correctness means nothing to Him, and the only Truth that really counts is His:

Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
    and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2)

If there was ever a time for our nation to heed the words of the Lord, this certainly seems to be it!

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT)

Sunrise, Sunset…

139From the beginning, as the Fiddler fiddled from his rooftop on the stage I was enchanted–carried away to the Tsarist Russia of 1905 where Tevye attempted to cope with the challenges to his faith and the influences of the world on his five daughters.  All too soon, Act I neared its conclusion and haunting lyrics filled the theatre and stabbed at hearts…

141

Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years

One season following another

Laiden with happiness and tears

 

I must wonder if the lyricist knew how closely his words echo the scriptures, proclaiming the truth that there is a time for every season…

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

He comes out like a flower and withers;

he flees like a shadow and continues not.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-9

Many seasons have passed in my life since I first sat enthralled by the saga of the Fiddler on the Roof and yes; they have all flown so swiftly by.  I look at our wedding pictures, amazed that we were ever so young.  I consider my baby who now has babies of his own.  My husband’s hair is white, and mirrors show stark evidence of my age.  May dad has already been gone for five years, yet it seems like yesterday that he was telling me I could be anything I wanted when I grew up.  My fiercely independent mother is independent no longer.  So many sunrises, so many sunsets; and it would be easy to sink into the melancholy mood of the song.  But while I may occasionally visit those days gone by with a nostalgic sense of sadness, I don’t stay long because I have hope, and His name is Jesus. 

A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Isaiah 40:6-8

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

Jesus is the Word and He stands forever, so instead of lamenting the brevity of life I proclaim the truth of the word of God…

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24