You have probably heard this early 19
-century verse from “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” sung on Independence Day weekends past:
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light
But I wonder if you’re familiar with this slightly altered version, which was written roughly a decade later:
Soon may our land be bright,
With holy freedom's right
I wasn’t, at least not until recently, when I learned the latter was written in support of the movement to abolish slavery. The differences between these lines are few but significant. Together with the hymns to which they belong, they highlight the tension between what
and what we hope
As citizens, we often hold our country’s past and future in a delicate balance, along with our points of pride and shame. As people of faith, one way we can respond is by bringing it all into Christ’s healing, guiding, everlasting light.
What does that light look like, and how can we be agents of it in the world? We’ll explore those questions together this Sunday by
focusing on this text
, reflecting on the images of light many of you have shared, enjoying powerful music, and centering ourselves in prayer.