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.
My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover- leaf 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.
*To the melody of Finlandia *Lyrics by Lloyd Stone
Whenever the Fourth of July comes around I think of this hymn, which is one of my favorite from our church hymnal. I’m reminded that to be an American patriot, I need to love my country, but not at the expense of other nations and people. I should love our American history, but not when it wavers from our principles of equality and justice, and love our democracy but not when it’s perverted by demagogues.
Two of my ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence. I wonder how they balanced patriotism, independence and compassion as they put their names on that document. I wish I could sit down with them on this upcoming weekend and listen to their answers.
May this Fourth of July be one that celebrates our freedom from fear, and our commitment to compassion and diversity.