Sunday Morning Reflection: America – My country, ’tis of Thee (Video)


image: tclehner.wordpreiss.com

America – My country, ’tis of Thee

By Samuel F. Smith, 1832

My country, ’tis of Thee,
Sweet Land of Liberty
Of thee I sing;


Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountain side
Let Freedom ring.

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;


I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills,
My heart with rapture thrills
Like that above.


Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet Freedom’s song;


Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.


Our fathers’ 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.


Our glorious Land to-day,
‘Neath Education’s sway,
Soars upward still.
Its hills of learning fair,
Whose bounties all may share,
behold them everywhere
On vale and hill!

 

Thy safeguard, Liberty,
The school shall ever be,
Our Nation’s pride!
No tyrant hand shall smite,
While with encircling might
All here are taught the Right
With Truth allied.


Beneath Heaven’s gracious will
The stars of progress still
Our course do sway;
In unity sublime
To broader heights we climb,
Triumphant over Time,
God speeds our way!


Grand birthright of our sires,
Our altars and our fires
Keep we still pure!
Our starry flag unfurled,
The hope of all the world,
In peace and light impearled,
God hold secure!

Anthems & Honors Music

Moved deeply by the desire to create a national hymn that would allow the American people to offer praise to God for their wonderful land, a twenty-four-year-old theological student, Samuel Francis Smith, penned these lines on a scrap of paper in less than thirty minutes in 1832. Yet even today many consider My Country, 'Tis of Thee their favorite patriotic hymn and call it their "unofficial national anthem." The easily singable words of the song are matched with a popular international melody used by many nations, including the United Kingdom, where it accompanies "God Save the King/Queen." The emotionally powerful ideas that Smith expressed had an immediate response. The hymn soon became a national favorite. The stirring tributes to our fatherland in the first three stanzas lead to a worshipful climax of gratefulness to God and a prayer for His continued guidance.

Following his graduation from Harvard and the Andover Theological Seminary, Samuel Smith became an outstanding minister in several Baptist churches in the East. He composed 150 hymns during his 87 years and helped compile the leading Baptist hymnal of his day. He was also editor of a missionary magazine through which he exerted a strong influence in promoting the cause of missions. Later he became the secretary of the Baptist Missionary Union and spent considerable time visiting various foreign fields. Samuel Smith was truly a distinctive representative of both his country and his God.

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