Sunday, September 11, 2011

This is Our Song - September 11, 2011

We sang this in church today, the tenth anniversary of September 11. I want to share it because to me, it expresses an alternative response to "God Bless America"-style patriotism. It's by Lloyd Stone, written in 1914 and published in the period between the two world wars. The tune is "Finlandia," perhaps known best as the music to the hymn "Be Still, My Soul."

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.
O hear my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

 I love what this song goes beyond "God Bless America" to acknowledge the hopes and dreams of those in all nations. Even Afghanistan and Iraq. This morning in church I was reminded of the aftermath of September 11 on the world in the past ten years. Of course I am deeply saddened at the losses we sustained and I can't even pretend to imagine the pain borne by those who have suffered personally from that.  But our unnecessary "war on terrorism" has compounded that suffering, caused even greater death and destruction (especially in Iraq and Afghanistan), billions of dollars spent on war instead of a thousand better uses, the revelation of the use of torture and other abuses by our military, and the loss of much respect and credibility in the world's eyes. I found myself wishing I had been more outspoken in the last 10 years about my opposition to more war as our response to terrorism. I don't know exactly what the solution is, but I'm pretty sure this strategy is not it. So I pray for peace, and for justice to be done, and for the courage to speak and act, however I can, for healing and redemption.


Tammy said...

Amen. Could not have said it better myself.

Kim said...

What beautiful language in that hymn (and "Finlandia" has always been one of my favorite tunes, the version of which in my hymn book was also easier for me to play on the piano!). Thanks for sharing, Sarah.