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July '19

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD." – Psalm 33:12

Reflection:

In 1893, a professor, poet, and writer named Katharine Lee Bates traveled to Colorado Springs (where my family and I reside), and while Katharine was standing at the top of Pikes Peak, the words to a remarkable poem began to form in her mind. This poem we have all come to know and love is titled "America, the Beautiful," as majestic as that famed mountain which I am delighted to see every day out my home office windows.

I remember as a little girl in elementary school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania singing this amazing song with my classmates each morning, followed by standing for the "Pledge of Allegiance" and saying The Lord's Prayer, too. All the memorable moments of the start of our school day. . . .

How very different things were then. Some of you may remember bowing your head in this reverent prayer even before the teacher took attendance and collected milk money.

This month, when we commemorate Independence Day, what if we also thank our heavenly Father for the privilege of living in a land where a poet like Katharine Lee Bates could be so inspired as to write the following lyrics to that lovely song, (verse 3):

"O beautiful for heroes proved, in liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life.
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine."

Take a moment with me to ponder that and all the verses. It touches my heart deeply and takes me back to my childhood classroom. I am so grateful to have had the freedom to blend my voice with my teacher and classmates and sing such a soul-stirring song! One that is embedded in my mind for life.

"America, America, God shed His grace on thee. . . ."

Blessings abundant, and Happy Fourth!

Beverly Lewis