| A letter to America from an Immigrant|
You welcomed me with open arms
Protected me from many harms
I found in you a warm embrace
I would find this in no other place
It did not matter, the social classes
For you invited the huddled masses
And in a world that was ruled by greed
Yours was a land to plant ones seed
America you took me in
And now my journey could begin
Born and bred in poverty
You opened doors and set me free
Free to flourish, free to love
Free to worship my God above
It mattered not my humble birth
I found in you I had some worth
In my land of birth it was established
Chains of social class to languish
At birth one’s future life was sealed
But you, a level playing field
America your greatness lies
In hearing the huddled masses cries
God honors those who honors them
Who aids the poor and not condemn
Oh sweet land of liberty
Where men came longing to be free
And found within this fabled land
A place where they could surely stand
The solid Rock of God above
Is compassion, mercy, truth and love
And all those things encompassed me
Who came from far across the sea
Oh land where mighty rivers flow
Tis time to choose how you must go
Shall truth alone be your only guide?
Or will cultural winds cast truth aside?
The ancient landmarks guide the way
Shall you break them down and rise and play?
Or turn to God with all your heart?
And stay the course and not depart
I beg you not to take this road
For sin is such a heavy load
It causes men to fall and stumble
And foundations, strong, to surely crumble
You’ll be abandoned, you’ll be alone
To sit upon a golden throne
And when the Christ appears on high
Your gold will not salvation buy
The people of this land must choose
To follow God and not confuse
Their loyalties and where they stand
Beneath your wings and within your hand
There is the narrow path that lies ahead
Follow God or yours instead
I loved you so, you shone so bright
But now you’re faltering in the night
True freedom comes from up above
It’s found within the Father’s love
To find it is to truly live
It was never ever yours to give
Humble yourself before God’s throne
Or you must journey on alone
There will be no fire in the night
The hand of God you cannot fight
For those who live within this land
The time has come to take a stand
Fires and droughts and many disasters
Come to those who try to serve two masters
It’s time to follow God alone
This path will lead you to His throne
The idols must be stripped away
If we shall stand in that evil day
For far too long you have worshiped men
Put them aside and only then
Will you have eyes that will truly see
Just who truly set us free
Lift your eyes, the storm cloud gathers
You will not be saved by your founding fathers
Nor written laws of any kind
Shall give you joy or peace of mind
In Christ alone we’ll make our stand
And in His presence hand in hand
We’ll stand together now as one
Saved by Blood and not by gun
The precious Blood of Calvary
Shed by Christ to set men free
Remnant saints from many nations
From every tribe and populations
America a land so fair
It’s time to turn to Him in prayer
Lift your eyes and lift them higher
The sun will set on your empire
Look to that which shall endure
To all that’s holy, good and pure
And He’ll protect you from many harms
And He would welcome you into His arms
| 2014/7/16 22:54|
| Re: A letter to America from an Immigrant|
I recall years ago on a Sunday when I was on vacation doing what I normally would do at such times: I went to visit another church in the community. This particular church was one of the ten largest in the country. The sprawling campus was perfectly landscaped and the huge building was impressive. My family and I were running late. We rushed from the parking lot, through the doors to their “worship center.” But what I saw stopped me in my tracks. A color guard in full military uniform was about to walk down the main aisle with an American flag hoisted high. It was only then that I remembered it was the Sunday before Independence Day. I took my children by their hands, turned and walked away to find another place to worship.
Our world is filled with institutions that would like to gain our affection and attachment. These use images, music and slogans in order to impact us. The institutions range from the universities, to the movie theaters, to restaurants, to Federal Express and Delta Airlines. These variously provide us with services, entertainment, education and more. From us they expect remuneration, payment for whatever it is they have provided to us. These institutions attempt to win our loyalty. But the word “loyalty” here is narrowly defined. At best it involves only a small sliver of our lives.
Historically, if there has been little serious conflict in the United States between Christian devotion and American allegiance it is not due to some Christian nature of America that some people imagine exists. Instead this is an indication of the extent that the church has been conformed to American ideals, interests and identity. No clear distinction between being American and being Christian is even a possibility because the two have become one in the hearts of many. The God being worshiped is the American God and the nation they love is in some fashion God’s nation. Consequently, many Christians find it incomprehensible that incorporating the rituals of America into the worship of the church could be anything other than a positive, edifying practice.
On those all-too-rare occasions when an objection is raised about the presence of the rituals of American nationalism in the worship of the church, those who respond are usually quick to rehearse the myth of the Christian origins of America. It would not be fair to declare the myth entirely baseless. Surely William Bradford and then John Winthrop believed their colonies had a special relationship with God somewhat similar to that enjoyed by the people of Israel. While the founders of the United States did not intend to establish an expressly Christian nation, many politicians and preachers through the years have borrowed biblical language and imagery to speak of America. The belief that America is in some fashion “chosen” by God has been widespread and enduring.
Fortified with confidence that the cause of humanity and the cause of God just so happen to coincide with the cause of the nation, Christians have repeatedly taken to the battlefield under different flags. There they kill and maim one another, to say nothing of the injury they cause to others who make no claim to follow the Prince of Peace. Regardless of which nations are the victors and which are the vanquished, nationalism wins and the church loses.
The best way for nationalism to take precedence over religion is for it to wear the mantle of religion, even if unofficially. This can be done best, not by an assault on religion, but by the subversion of it. Nationalistic ministers even more often than politicians are the most frequent agents of this subversion. On the one hand, this takes place as religious leaders make much of the ceremonial use of “God” in the national motto, the Pledge of Allegiance, in political speeches, and by treating the myths of national origin as somehow revelatory.
On the other hand, the subversion is furthered by incorporating elements of nationalistic liturgy into the life and worship of the church. The result is that churches become what historian Carlton Hayes called “auxiliaries to nationalist fervor and nationalist endeavor.” By prominently displaying the American flag, by singing the National Anthem or other songs that glorify America and foster pride in the nation, by offering special honor to the U.S. military, and perhaps even pledging allegiance to the flag, the nation is invited to take a seat on the throne of God in such close proximity to the Lord that distinguishing the two becomes virtually impossible.
Several years ago, after serving as a visiting professor in an American seminary Swiss theologian Eberhard Busch, friend and biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, found himself disturbed. He sat down and wrote, “A Letter to Ministers of the Church in the U.S.” In this open letter he reflected on what he observed as he spent time in this country. “I got the impression,” he wrote, “that among Christians… what it means to be a child of God and to be an American has become confused.” This state of affairs led him to be concerned for the credibility of the American church. He had seen firsthand in Germany what damage could be done when church is subverted and enlisted by the nation. The confusion of Christian identity he observed is evident above all in the worship of the church in the U.S.
The church in America will not be a Christ-centered community of peace so long as it is determined to celebrate its identity as American. It is imperative, I believe, that all traces of nationalism be removed from the church’s worship. Otherwise, in times of international crisis, instead of being an instrument of reconciliation, it will continue to embrace the role of handmaiden of war. God cannot be praised in the same breath that America is honored without God being dishonored and replaced by another god. The church cannot be itself so long as it is defined by its location, complexion or culture.
But ridding the church in the United States of the marks of nationalism will be a formidable task for those who are willing to face it. Many in the church will intensely resist. I cannot help but recall the words of a long-time lay leader who was in the middle of a discussion about the prospect of removing the American flag from the sanctuary of his church. In an unguarded moment of nationalist fervor, he passionately thundered: “Some things Jesus Christ himself can’t make me do!” That says it all.
| 2014/7/17 0:31||Profile|
Monroe, LA - USA
| Re: A letter to America from an Immigrant|
What a great message! Thanks for sharing.
| 2014/7/17 20:08||Profile|
| Re: |
"Is it not High Time for the People of this Country explicitly to declare, whether they will be Freemen or Slaves? It is an important Question which ought to be decided. It concerns us more than any Thing in this Life. The Salvation of our Souls is interested in the Event: For wherever Tyranny is establish'd, Immorality of every Kind comes in like a Torrent. It is in the interest of Tyrants to reduce the people to Ignorance and Vice. For they cannot live in any Country where Virtue and Knowledge prevail. The Religion and public liberty of a People are intimately connected; their Interests are interwoven, they cannot subsist separately; and therefore they rise and fall together. For this Reason, it is always observable, that those who are combined to destroy the People's Liberties practice every Art to poison their Morals. How greatly then does it concern us, at all Events, to put a Stop to the Progress of Tyranny."
| 2014/7/18 9:01||Profile|
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Hi Rookie, the greatest moral society in history occurred in Victorian England of the 1800s. This was truly a religious generation, steeped in morality and right living, yet far from God. They despised genuine saints and mockingly called them " enthusiasts." The hope of mankind and any society is not reliant upon the culture in general or any general sense of morality, hope lies in Christ alone. Whether very dark or merely shades of grey, the enemy has plenty of room to reign, but in the light of Christ there is no darkness at all and he is vanquished. ..............bro Frank
| 2014/7/18 12:53|
| Re: |
The 1800's of England witnessed the ascendancy of Babylon in the guise of the East India Company which was chartered back in the 1600's. The East India Company was responsible for the destruction of morality everywhere there was an economic interest. The reign of terror killed millions all over the world. The American experiment for a time found liberty from this oppression which Samuel Adams speaks of.
And today, just as Samuel Adams observed in his day, those who seek to enslave will spread immorality throughout the people.
Scripture teaches that men who rule over the people do indeed magnify the decent of his or her people into moral decay. I do indeed agree with the poem you posted.
But within that context, God's work is not yet complete...
Is it fitting to say to a king, ‘You are worthless,’
And to nobles, ‘You are wicked’?
Yet He is not partial to princes,
Nor does He regard the rich more than the poor;
For they are all the work of His hands.
In a moment they die, in the middle of the night;
The people are shaken and pass away;
The mighty are taken away without a hand.
“For His eyes are on the ways of man,
And He sees all his steps.
There is no darkness nor shadow of death
Where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
For He need not further consider a man,
That he should go before God in judgment.
He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry,
And sets others in their place.
Therefore He knows their works;
He overthrows them in the night,
And they are crushed.
He strikes them as wicked men
In the open sight of others,
Because they turned back from Him,
And would not consider any of His ways,
So that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him;
For He hears the cry of the afflicted.
When He gives quietness, who then can make trouble?
And when He hides His face, who then can see Him,
Whether it is against a nation or a man alone?—
That the hypocrite should not reign,
Lest the people be ensnared.
That the hypocrite should not reign, lest the people be ensnared...the Scriptures speaks of many ways in which God breaks the hypocrite...
Would you say that Samuel Adams was used by God?
| 2014/7/18 15:12||Profile|