America – “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” As Americans, we so dearly cherish the freedoms that have been so graciously afforded to us. As Americans, we have been blessed by the sovereign hand of our Creator to live in a choice land governed by the Constitution, which guarantees every citizen certain unalienable rights, which include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In simple layman’s terms, freedom is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. The scriptures make it abundantly clear that “all things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12, KJV). And so, we speak of freedom, and we march and protest for the cause of freedom. In doing so, we would be wise to remember the exhortation of Nelson Mandela, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, an American activist in the civil rights movement who was dubbed by the United States Congress as “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement,” proclaimed, “I’d like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted other people to be also free.” And, Ronald Reagan reminded us, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
As America prepares to celebrate its 244th year of independence, let there be moments of quiet reflection upon the true reason for the celebration. Lest we forget, as we partake of the delicious food prepared on our barbecue grills, enjoy our beverages, play our games, and later enjoy the fireworks that will light up the sky, we are blessed beyond measure to inhabit a land of freedom and liberty because of those who valiantly gave their last full measure of devotion to defend our liberty and freedom. All gave some; some gave all! So, let us never take any of our liberties for granted.
Considering the uncertain times in which we are living, now more than ever before, we need to call on the Almighty to bless and heal our land. The scriptures remind us, “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, KJV). Prayer is indeed a mighty game changer.
On Wednesday, 1 July 2020, Rodrick Covington and the Lyceum Philharmonic at American Heritage School under the baton of Kayson Brown released an inspirational music video of a prayer in song called “God Bless This Land” from a live performance given on 12 November 2016 at American Heritage School in American Fork, Utah. The music and lyrics are by Rob Moffatt. The orchestration is by Rob Gardner and the video was produced by American Heritage School and Kayson Brown.
The song is the prayer of a freed Civil War slave, Alexander, played by Broadway veteran Rodrick Covington. Although the music was written to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the message still rings true today as our great nation faces times of unrest, adversity, and confusion. Added to that mix is the considerable amount of racial strife and tension.
Amid what may at times appear to be a modern-day “Revolution” or the semblance of the beginnings of a “Civil War,” we must continue to hold fast to our convictions. We, as minutemen prepared to enter the battle, must vigilantly stand the watch and never lose sight of what it means to be a true patriot – a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors. We also must realize that we cannot fight the battle alone. Only God can heal and restore our nation and grant us true and everlasting independence.
May our heartfelt cry forever be:
As we make our way
Here in this broken vessel
Join our hands with Thee,
God bless this land for me.