Daily Devotion

Thursday, July 2, 2020

For the start of our daily devotional series Beloved Hymns and in these days before the Fourth of July, I’ll be exploring three patriotic hymns found in our United Methodist Hymnal. 

Today, Hymn #437    This Is My Song

If you have a beloved hymn you’d like to see featured in the daily devotions, send it to me and why it is meaningful and beloved to you.


Let the peoples praise you, O God; 
   let all the peoples praise you. 
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, 
   for you judge the peoples with equity 
   and guide the nations upon earth. 
Let the peoples praise you, O God; 
   let all the peoples praise you!

ANTHEM                                   This Is My Song

              Lyrics written by Lloyd Stone, Georgia Harkness
        Music arranged by Jean Sibelius

Sung by the Summer Choir and Congregation
of First Plymouth Church, Lincoln Nebraska

    (tap the link to play)


This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.ved.


 This is my prayer, O Lord of all earth’s kingdoms.
Thy kingdom come; on earth thy will be done.
Let Christ be lifted up till all shall serve him,
and hearts united learn to live as one.
O hear my prayer, thou God of all the nations;
myself I give thee; let thy will be done.

SCRIPTURE    Psalm 67
May God be gracious to us and bless us.
Shine Your face upon us,
   that Your way may be known upon earth,
   Your saving power among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise You.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
   for You judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth,
Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You.
   The earth has yielded its increase. 
God, our God, has blessed us.
   May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere You.


REFLECTION  written by Pastor Joe
   This hymn is one of my favorites, particularly at this time of year.  The tune FINLANDIA (which is also used for the hymn Be Still My Soul) was composed by Jean Sebelius at the start of the 20th century as both a celebration of his Finnish people and a protest against increasing Russian interference in his nation.  How appropriate for these days when Americans are both celebrating and protesting (Some Americans are doing one or the other, some are doing both!).    

   Lloyd Stone, an American poet living in Hawaii, wrote the first two verses of the hymn in 1934 during the brief time of peace between two world wars.  Stone wrote it as  a song of hope for all nations—“for lands afar and mine.” The poet acknowledges love for his own country, but balances that with the love that others feel around the world for their nations. 

   As an American, I live in this land, pay my takes to this nation, and likely will spend the rest of my life here (hopefully a very large percentage of my remaining life in Lexington at Trinity!).  I have a Christian responsibility to my neighbors here around me, and yet, though my roots are here in America, as a Christian, are not all people my neighbors?  John Wesley wrote that “The world is my parish.”  One of my favorite parts of being a United Methodist is that we really are a global denomination, with a global relief agency that helps folks around the world, regardless of nationality or religion.  

   Georgia Harkness, a Methodist theologian and one of the first women ordained in the Methodist Church, wrote the distinctly Christian verse three in 1939.  “Let Christ be lifted up till all shall serve him.”   I am a Christian. I see the world through Christian eyes.  Others will see the world through the lenses of other faiths and of no faith.  This hymn for me is both a call to serve others and a prayer for peace, addressed to the Prince of Peace. 
Let the rain come and wash away
  the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
  held and nurtured over generations.

Let the rain wash away the memory
  of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
  fill the sky with rainbows.

Let the warmth of the sun heal us
  wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
  we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
  beyond accents, gender or skin color.

Let the warmth and brightness
  of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
  feel the sorrows of our neighbors.

And let the light of the sun
  be so strong that we will see all
  people as our neighbors.

Let the earth, nourished by rain,
  bring forth flowers
  to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
  to reach upward to heaven. Amen.
And we pray together the prayer Jesus teaches us:
   Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
   Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
      on earth as it is in heaven.
   Give us this day our daily bread,
      and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those
      who trespass against us.
   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
   For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever.

PRAYER written by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner

Information on This Is My Song and “FINLANDIA” from https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-this-is-my-song

Daily Devotions are published Monday-Thursdays
Each day at noon, we Virginia United Methodists are praying for healing in our homes, communities, and in the world.


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