It happened here: St. Joseph, MI. And here: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Roswell, NM; and Cape Coral, FL. It also happened here: Orlando, FL; Piketon, OH; Appling, GA; Chesapeake, VA; Woodburn, OR; Edgerton, MO; Baton Rouge, LA. And here: Hiram, GA; Brooklyn, NY; Pittsburgh, PA, and Chattanooga, TN … And this is just a sampling.
Attack, suicides, pain, assault, rioting, lawlessness, distrust, jealousy, hate, greed, gang killings, violence, vandalism, obstruction, terror, panic, confusion, horrific murders, sadness, protests, senseless tragedy, danger, inconsolable weeping, shootings, massacre, fear, mayhem, demonstrations, unrest, abuse, destruction, assassins, lack of respect, calls for justice, aggression, interruption, belligerence, denial … just to name a few.
I’m reminded of the movie, Elf. Buddy, the elf, lived at the North Pole with Santa and the other elves but knew something was different because of his human size. When Papa Elf told him that his biological father (Walter Hobbs) lived in New York City, Buddy left the North Pole in search of him. Arriving in the Big Apple, Buddy found his real dad and through DNA testing and a series of events, went to live with his new-found family, much to the dismay of Walter because of Buddy’s simplistic and childlike ways. Buddy soon found himself employed at Gimbels Department Store, home of ‘Santa Land’, where he met and fell in love with Jovie, a disenchanted store clerk who possessed a beautiful singing voice.
On Christmas Eve, Santa was making his way across the US, dropping presents for all the good little boys and girls, when his sleigh’s engine broke off over New York City, due to the lack of Christmas spirit there, and he crashed to the ground in Central Park. Buddy was returning to the Hobbs house from his date with Jovie when he came upon Santa and his dilemma. He started working on reattaching the sleigh’s engine and was only partially finished when Santa is chased from Central Park by the horse riding police. As Santa’s sleigh bobs and weaves out of control, citizens, as well as a TV camera crew, have gathered in the Park to watch. Jovie sees this newscast on TV and remembers Buddy saying to her, ‘The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear’ and rushes to Central Park to lead everyone in singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Only when curmudgeon Walter, the last holdout, joins the crowd in singing is there enough Christmas spirit to power the sleigh and Santa is back in business!
In 1918, Irving Berlin, a Russian Jew, wrote God Bless America for his mother, who often used this phrase to express her gratitude at having the US to flee to from prejudicial violence in her native Siberia. It wasn’t until 1938, however, that a revised version was introduced to the public by Kate Smith on her radio show’s Armistice Day broadcast.
This revised version is written in the form of a prayer for God’s blessing and peace for the nation. It is considered by many as the unofficial national anthem and can be found in many church hymnals. It has been sung in many Hollywood films, at sporting events and for patriotic celebrations and demonstrations for over 70 years. And, who can forget the memorable gathering of both Democrats and Republican congressmen and senators, following the September 11, 2001 attacks, as they joined their voices to sing God Bless America as a prayer on the steps of the Nation’s capital? Not The Star Spangled Banner, not America The Beautiful, or even My Country Tis of Thee … why do you think they chose to sing God Bless America? Maybe it was the lyrics, maybe it was the tune, maybe it was because it’s a prayer??
While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
God Bless America
Land that I love.
Stand beside her and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains
To the prairies
To the oceans, white with foam
God Bless America
My home sweet home.
Isn’t it time we raised our voices and sang loud for all to hear?
To be ever conscious of my unity with God, to listen for His voice, and hear no other call.
To separate all error from my thought of man, and see him only as my Father’s image, to
show him reverence and share with him my holiest treasures.
To keep my mental home a sacred place, golden with gratitude, redolent with love, white
with purity, cleansed from the flesh.
To send no thought into the world that will not bless, or cheer, or purify, or heal.
To have no aim but to make Earth a fairer, holier place, and to rise each day into a higher sense of life and love.
Thank you to the following for continuing to walk with our crosses in His service during the month of June:
Sandra – NV
Don – MN
Shirley – NJ
Birch Ridge Resort – Cass Lake, MN
Narrows Community Church – Outing, MN
Brenda – KY
Jayne – MN
Bethany Nursing Home – Brainerd, MN
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
– 2 Chronicles 7:14