Finally… holidays from school term in NSW. Hurrah.
Whilst the main thing is that we’re all safe and well, it has been a strange term. I think we were all ‘over it’ by the time we eventually returned to start face-to-face lessons. Then there were a few more weeks of term after that.
I kick started my holidays by finally making it to my beauty therapist. At least she’s back at work now, but for those deemed “non-essential workers” it was a rough trot of ‘no work-no income’ for a while there.
As a result of this appointment, I made it to my Church’s Working Bee just in time for our American themed lunch of Hot Dogs. Considering that our first working bee in a long time coincided with America’s Independence Day, the theme seemed fitting.
This late arrival of mine was unavoidable, but it meant that the sum total of my contribution to the Church’s beautification was clearing and wiping down a table after lunch, plus giving my two-cents worth about the new arrangement for the musicians in the main church building.
And they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch….
I’ve never been to America. I’ve also never wanted to be American. But I tell ya, watching Whitney Houston’s performance of their anthem at the 1991 Superbowl, complete with air force flyover to finish… and you’ve almost got me putting my hand on my heart.
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there
No one sings it like Whitney sings it.
Of course, the lyrics contain warlike words (which makes perfect sense in its compositional context); a patriotism set in a need to fight for rights, thereby confirming a national identity.
Very different to Australia – we sing about being young, free, and having some ripper landscapes.*
These days, ‘the fight’ in America doesn’t seem to be going so well. Being a child of the 80s, I remember when things were different. I also remember when I used to hear a lot more “God Bless America” than I do these days.
Whilst there were a few groups there already – including some Spanish- prior to the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620, White America is usually said to have began when a bunch of Christian Puritans headed over to make a colony.
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
It seems hearts have changed since then- and not just in America – but God’s heart has not changed. He says in the book of Isaiah:
You have not brought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offences. I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more…Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”
The more I read The Bible and the more I think about contemporary Western society, the more I get a sense that God is just waiting to be allowed back in the door. And not so that he can be some terrible dictator, but so that he can love us.
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.
The Christian God is a fighter too, on the behalf of his people. It’s one of the ways he blesses us. So maybe we should ask him to do just that. As a child I used to say a prayer for my family, every night before I went to bed:
God bless Mum and Dad, God bless Andrew and Ian, and God bless me.
Maybe it’s time I returned to praying something like that (but more age appropriate) at the end of each day. Maybe it’s time we all started asking for a blessing at end of the day too. Who knows what God might do through the night.
God bless America and Australia. God bless my Church and my workplace. And God bless you.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Yours in his giving proof through the night,
*Ed: since the scheduling of this post, those referenced lyrics of Australia’s national anthem have changed.
Image Credit: Superbowl 1991 Image from YouTube