Numerous historians and pundits can scarcely recall when America was more divided than it is today with the notable exceptions of the War of Independence and the Civil War, as these wars were internal to the body politic, hence the divisiveness of the same.
The acrimony in America today lies across many dividing lines. There is a movement in the U.S. that claims America is a systemically racist nation that must be fundamentally transformed, while others believe America was God’s gift of light, liberty, faith and freedom to the world. There are many more divisions concerning globalism, socialism, capitalism, abortion, foreign policy, immigration, and the list goes on and on.
Alternatively, those times when America was most united is when we were attacked, including World War II and 9/11. For the purposes of this discussion, let me remind you that after the attacks on America on 9/11, the entire Congress went out on the steps of the capitol and sang “God Bless America.”
Moreover, on the occasion of an anniversary remembrance of 9/11, both parties once again sang this song on the steps of the capitol, while locking arms and waving American flags!
Let us remember the words of this anthem, because they are in essence a prayer written by Irving Berlin during World War I, having become famous once again during World War II. The operative words are:
“God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her, through the night with the light from above. From the mountains to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam. God bless America, my home sweet home.
“When the storm clouds gather far across the sea, let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free. Let us be grateful for a land so fair, as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.”
If America is to survive as a nation and an empire of freedom, I am of the opinion that our only hope is to return to faith and prayer. A faith that binds us together by way of both the promises of hope and the fear of judgment. That is, shortly after the birth of Jesus, his parents brought him to the temple to present him to God. Upon his arrival, a man inspired by God met them and declared that “this child has been appointed for the rise and fall of many” — a reference applied to nations, as well as men.
Another song, written during the Civil War, that was quoted many years later by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., captures this same message of hope and fear, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The operative words:
“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; His truth is marching on.
“Glory, glory! Hallelujah! Glory, glory! Hallelujah! Glory, glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.
“In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea; With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me; As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free; While God is marching on.”
Years ago, historian Will Durant wrote, “The greatest question of our time is not communism versus individualism; not Europe versus America; not even the East versus the West. It is whether men can live without God.”
That is, the only Kingdom that will last, and the only one that will matter in the end, is the one that belongs to God and to those who belong to him.