From Sea to Shining Sea
Written By: Chris Mace
The grand, final stanza of America the Beautiful will echo across the “purple mountains” and fruited plains” of our country this Fourth of July:
O beautiful for patriot dream/ That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam/ Undimmed by human tears.
America! America!/ God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood/ From sea to shining sea.
Patriots place their lives on the line in the fight for freedom as they dream of peace and brotherhood. We in America have been particularly fortunate to have realized that dream. Yet, we still strive to to overcome our personal histories, biases, and imperfections, to improve our lot, and to be better people. We search for relief from the weight of guilt and the consequences of our moral weaknesses, addictions, bad behaviors, and miserable attitudes. We seek absolution, restoration, and transformation. We all struggle with spiritual bondage and oppression.
In a declaration to the Galatian church, the Apostle Paul said: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) He was saying that rule keeping, tradition, and personal effort are constricting, ineffectual, and futile in freeing us from guilt and shame. But because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, God wipes the slate clean and frees us from guilt, fear, and judgment. When His forgiveness is received in repentance and believing reliance on His presence and power, one is released from the power of spiritual oppression and eternal condemnation. (Romans 8:1)
This time of year Americans celebrate their many civil freedoms because patriots dreamed and scarified. When we accept Christ’s sacrifice for us, we can also celebrate spiritual freedom. Even though the external world places restraints upon us, God offers soul freedom to all peoples.
May God “shed His grace on thee” from continent to continent- from sea to shining sea.