Poll

How does/will/did your congregation incorporate Independence Day into the worship service?

Hymn(s) only.
1 (2.3%)
Hymn(s) and prayers.
19 (43.2%)
Hymn(s), prayers, and sermon
12 (27.3%)
Not at all.
4 (9.1%)
Other (please elaborate)
8 (18.2%)

Total Members Voted: 22

Author Topic: July 4th, 2010 - 6th Sunday After Pentecost and/or (U.S.) Independence Day  (Read 8042 times)

BrotherBoris

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I just thought of something else.   Our "old" patriotic music rarely, if even mentioned Christ, but it used to mention "God", even if that might be some deist or generic being. "My Country "Tis of Thee" mentions God. So does "God Bless America".  But this newer stuff like "Livin' in the Homeland" doesn't even bother to mention God at all, not even a passing reference. Its just pure nationalism, and I daresay, American imperialism, esp. the phrase:

Oh, March! March with our flags held high.
Not afraid to fight. Not afraid to die.
March! March for the cause is just.
‘Tis a sacred honor, ‘tis a holy trust.

Notice it isn't a call to martyrdom for Christ (He isn't even mentioned). It a call for martyrdom for the state. Scary people. Very scary indeed.

passerby

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We're singing a hymn or two... but beyond that, I don't know if we'll have any mention - the sermon isn't done yet (a death in the congregation with a funeral on Saturday has interfered with my normal sermon prep schedule).

I offer two almost polar opposites:

sundaysandseasons.com  - the Augsburg Fortress worship resource site offers no patriotic hymn suggestions, ideas for worship, general reflections; the only reference at all to the fact that Sunday is July 4th is a prayer petition about freedom - "Give grateful hearts to all who enjoy freedom, and lead us to exercise our freedoms with judgment and care. Assist all those who still seek liberty in this world, and bind us together in hope. Hear us, O God."

Versailles Christian Church (formerly UCC) in my town is having their 3rd annual "I Love America" Celebration.  Guests include Miss Ohio, the state representative for our area, and the Versailles VFW Color Guard.  In addition to patriotic hymns and prayer petitions, I know they have also done the Pledge of Allegiance in the past.




So, I was curious... what do you do in your congregations?

We samg all patriotic hymns, prayers for the army, the congregation got a patriot award from the Dept. of defense, and had a sermon saying we are not a democracy but a republic under law and that talk of freedom is indvidualistic and that we should talk instead of liberty. It's not about our individual wants, the pastor said, imitating an effeminate man for effect,  but about being subordinate to leaders and the church; "one Christian is no Christian," the pastor quoted a church father as saying. Two times, the pastor invited anyone who disagreed with him to come to the altar and get a "smack." But what could you expect in the MNYS?  
« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 03:41:07 PM by passerby »

BrotherBoris

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This is the kind of patriotic music I like. For some reason, I can't keep a dry eye when I hear Kate Smith sing this. This video is from when she first introduced "God Bless America" to the U.S. public.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnQDW-NMaRs

BrotherBoris

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I thought this was a very tasteful version of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee"  performed at Mount Olivet United Methodist Church in Arlington, VA.  The thing that I've really noticed about this hymn over the years (as compared to other patriotic hymns) is its remarkable lack of military references, empire, "bombs bursting in air", going "on the march" or dying for a cause. It says none of that, yet people still love it. Why?  I think it captures a real, genuine, heartfelt love of country, above all, a hymn of thankfulness to God about being able to live in such a country. Its just such a humble earnest hymn, esp. the last stanza, which is addressed to God Himself:

Our Father's God to Thee
Author of Liberty
To Thee we sing!
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpbRANjI6kc

I'll take this hymn anyday over "Livin' in the Homeland."

J. Thomas Shelley

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I thought this was a very tasteful version of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee"  performed at Mount Olivet United Methodist Church in Arlington, VA.  The thing that I've really noticed about this hymn over the years (as compared to other patriotic hymns) is its remarkable lack of military references, empire, "bombs bursting in air", going "on the march" or dying for a cause. It says none of that, yet people still love it. Why?  I think it captures a real, genuine, heartfelt love of country, above all, a hymn of thankfulness to God about being able to live in such a country. Its just such a humble earnest hymn, esp. the last stanza, which is addressed to God Himself:

Our Father's God to Thee
Author of Liberty
To Thee we sing!
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpbRANjI6kc


That is why I had absolutely no qualms about using two patriotic hymns/prayers during the Distribution yesterday:  God Bless America (sung as a solo, congregation invited to join on refrain) and "My County, 'Tis of Thee" as well as "Before you, Lord, we bow", "Mine Eyes have seen the glory" and "Blessing and Honor and Glory and Might".
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BrotherBoris

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I thought this was a very tasteful version of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee"  performed at Mount Olivet United Methodist Church in Arlington, VA.  The thing that I've really noticed about this hymn over the years (as compared to other patriotic hymns) is its remarkable lack of military references, empire, "bombs bursting in air", going "on the march" or dying for a cause. It says none of that, yet people still love it. Why?  I think it captures a real, genuine, heartfelt love of country, above all, a hymn of thankfulness to God about being able to live in such a country. Its just such a humble earnest hymn, esp. the last stanza, which is addressed to God Himself:

Our Father's God to Thee
Author of Liberty
To Thee we sing!
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpbRANjI6kc


That is why I had absolutely no qualms about using two patriotic hymns/prayers during the Distribution yesterday:  God Bless America (sung as a solo, congregation invited to join on refrain) and "My County, 'Tis of Thee" as well as "Before you, Lord, we bow", "Mine Eyes have seen the glory" and "Blessing and Honor and Glory and Might".

Good point.  "Before You, Lord, we bow" has some explicitly Christian phrases in it, if I remember correctly and was authored by Francis Scott Key, the same fellow that authored our national anthem.  And "Mine eyes have seen the glory" actually mentions Christ by name in it. 

Just a note about "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" that some folks may not know.  This was the most well-known hymn that was sung by the Union army during the Civil War. And it was often sung as the Union army was invading the South.  So, even though it is a very nice hymn, and has a catchy tune, there are certain Southerners that to this day will not sing it in church, or will actually get up and walk out of church, if it is sung. Even though I was born and raised in the South, I never realized the animosity that some Southerns still have toward this hymn until I was in my late 20's.  I actually grew up in Southern churches where it was sung, and no one gave any thought to the matter. But during my 20's I belonged for a short time to a church that had some Sons of Confederate Veterans in it who were very well versed in Civil War stuff.  There was one family in particular that whenever this hymn was sung, without making a sound, all of them would stand up and file out of the church when it was sung (Mom, Dad, and all the kids).  They would stand in the narthex until the hymn was finished, and would then quietly return to their seats in the nave. They never vocally complained about it.  I finally asked them about it once, and they told me that they just could not abide singing (or remaining in the presence of singing) a hymn that was the fight song for an army that had persecuted their ancestors. They just had to leave when they heard it. They were not obnoxious or nasty about it. I suppose its the same reason that the British never imatch the tune "Austria" (Deutschland uber alles) with the hymn "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken".  Apparently, it still hits a nerve.

George Erdner

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Just a note about "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" that some folks may not know.  This was the most well-known hymn that was sung by the Union army during the Civil War.

By chance, are you referring to "The War of Northern Aggression"?


J. Thomas Shelley

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Just a note about "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" that some folks may not know.  This was the most well-known hymn that was sung by the Union army during the Civil War.

By chance, are you referring to "The War of Northern Aggression"?


Less than 30 miles from Gettysburg and 10 miles north of the Mason-Dixon it is sometimes referred to as "The War to Preserve the Union".
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Jeff-MN

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Next year September 11th is on a Sunday.  Tenth anniversary... bet there will be a lot of pressure to commemorate this event rather than preach the Gospel.

George Erdner

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Next year September 11th is on a Sunday.  Tenth anniversary... bet there will be a lot of pressure to commemorate this event rather than preach the Gospel.

God forbid any preacher should use the events of 9/11 as an illustration in explaining the Gospel.

Eileen Smith

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is there a reason one can't preach the Gospel and commemorate the tenth anniversary of September 11?  


We have a commemoration every year on the Sunday closest to the 11th.  

J. Thomas Shelley

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Next year September 11th is on a Sunday.  Tenth anniversary... bet there will be a lot of pressure to commemorate this event rather than preach the Gospel.

Are "commemorating this event" and preaching the Gospel mutually exclusive? 

The RCL/ELW lectionary Gospel passage is the parable of the unforgiving servant...would it not be appropriate to commemorate this event through using the longer Litany with its petition "to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to reconcile us to them...."? in light of the Gospe's call to mutual forgiveness?
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J. Thomas Shelley

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We have a commemoration every year on the Sunday closest to the 11th. 

We have a commemoration every year ON September 11th, irrespective of the day of the week.

That day is for me what December 7 was for my parents' generation.
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BrotherBoris

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Just a note about "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" that some folks may not know.  This was the most well-known hymn that was sung by the Union army during the Civil War.

By chance, are you referring to "The War of Northern Aggression"?


Less than 30 miles from Gettysburg and 10 miles north of the Mason-Dixon it is sometimes referred to as "The War to Preserve the Union".


I fully understand and am quiet sympathetic to the Northern view of the Civil War, even though I am a Southerner. I can certainly understand how people in southern PA would view it as a "war to preserve the Union" after they were invaded by Lee's army and Chambersburg, PA was burned by the Confederates.  In the South we seem to love to make ourselves almost into martyrs about the Civil War, and about how the Southern people suffered. But the North suffered too, esp. those areas that were close to the Mason Dixon line as you indicate.

J. Thomas Shelley

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I fully understand and am quiet sympathetic to the Northern view of the Civil War, even though I am a Southerner. I can certainly understand how people in southern PA would view it as a "war to preserve the Union" after they were invaded by Lee's army and Chambersburg, PA was burned by the Confederates.  In the South we seem to love to make ourselves almost into martyrs about the Civil War, and about how the Southern people suffered. But the North suffered too, esp. those areas that were close to the Mason Dixon line as you indicate.

In my border County, the strongest economic and commerical ties were to the port of Baltimore rather than the port of Philadelphia.  The best  and shortest roads and rail lines ran north-south rather than east-west.

We were quite fortunate to have had a young agricultural manufacturing entrepeneur living in the community who was from northern Virginia and a whose family were personal friends of the Lees.  Through his negotiated surrender we escaped the fate twice inflicted on Chambersburg.   Yes, York, Pennsylvania, home of the Continental Congress from September 1777 to June 1778 volutarily surrendered to the Confederacy.
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