God Bless America

A Journal During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Reflections and Inspiration from Maple Grove
May 17, 2020

I like to decorate for each season.  Toward the end of May, I switch from spring to summer decor. Because the upcoming months recognize the national holidays--Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day--it's fitting to display Americana.  We made this American flag art several years ago.  (You'll find a link to how we made it at the end of this post.) The crucifix is very special to us.  When Danny student taught for his degree in Industrial Arts Education, one of his students made it for him.  It has hung in our home since we were married forty-four years ago.

Lenten Worship
Easter Worship
The social distancing during this Coronavirus Pandemic began during the Lenten season nine weeks ago. Since we have been unable to physically go to church, we have been using our fireplace mantel as a home altar while we participate in online streamed worship services and Bible studies. I was struggling with placing such a large patriotic symbol at the center of our worship.  After all, the focus of our worship is on Christ, not country. It was not easy for me to replace the spring Easter decorations with Americana.

Our country (and the world) is struggling greatly during this current crisis. I think God is on people's minds more than usual, although even under "normal" conditions, on national holidays we often sing "God Bless America," and we hear most politicians say the words at the end of nearly every speech: "God bless you, and God bless the United States of America."   I wonder what people think it means when they say "God bless America."  Are they wishing for material abundance?  Freedom?  Health?  Happiness?  Peace?  Idealogy?

When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, this  portion is know as "The Beatitudes":

"And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples and said, 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets'" (Luke 6:20-22).

In my own heart and mind, I think of "God bless America" as a desire for a covenant relationship with Christ Himself--a relationship in which we receive the full spiritual blessings that God has fulfilled through Him.  In grateful response, we can bless God:

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's" (Psalm 103:1-5).

Yes, God bless America, but also . . . America, bless God!  

(click on the image below to listen to a beautiful tribute in song)

 America Bless God

Visit Maple Grove on Facebook and Pinterest.

No comments:

Post a Comment