By Darin Kearns
Alva Friends Church 

God shed His grace on thee


As I sit here thinking about what to write, knowing that one of the most important holidays in our country will happen tomorrow, Independence Day (yesterday as you read this), I am reminded of the wonderful song “America the Beautiful.”

I am in Colorado Springs, Colorado, right now and have the ability to look up and see the majestic mountain called Pike’s Peak. I had the privilege of living just seven miles away from this beautiful mountain during high school while attending Woodland Park High School. When I learned as a teenager that “America the Beautiful” was inspired because of the views both of Pike’s Peak and from the top of the mountain, I was filled with a sense of pride and awe because I understood why Katharine Lee Bates would write such wonderful words about the country in which she lived.

The most prominent lyric in the song is, “America! America! God shed His grace on thee.” I have heard that grace means God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Another way I learned it was that grace was getting what we don’t deserve and mercy was not getting what we do deserve.

Unfortunately, our country is very different that it was July 4th, 1776.

The men and women that fought for freedom those many years ago understood that they truly needed God’s grace and mercy. We have come to a time in our world that we think that everything should just be handed to us and given freely. Though God’s grace and mercy are given freely, it came at a cost. Again, the people that fought for freedom from the English rulers had to give their lives so others could live in freedom. As the saying goes, I’m sure they would be turning in their graves if they knew what our country was like and how far from God we have gone astray. Galatians 5:13 tells us to live in freedom for the benefit of others and not to live in sin, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love” (New Living Translation).

Jesus Christ also gave His life, freely, so that we could live in freedom. That freedom should lead to righteousness, though, not sinfulness. I pray our nation will wake up and see how far from the Lord we have wandered and again say we are a nation that honors God. May the world look up to the United States of America and see that we honor God. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people” (Proverbs 14:34 NIV).


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