Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done...In America
The voice on the radio said that it was time for the program’s weekly tribute to America as the piano and voice of Ray Charles singing “America the Beautiful” came through the speakers. I turned up the volume and sang along to Ray’s soulful voice, but as the song ended, I realized something was missing. What was missing was the third verse which includes the line, “America! America! God mend thine every flaw…”
As parents, my wife and I want our children to love America and to be good citizens. We are also committed to raising our children as disciples of Jesus Christ.
One of the first things we taught our children was the Lord’s prayer which includes this line, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
As disciples of Jesus, we believe that God has revealed through the Holy Scriptures God’s will, not only for our individual lives but also God’s will for the nations of the earth.
The Scriptures reveal that God’s will for the nations is that they be communities of Shalom, that is, communities of justice, mercy, and compassion that are structured in such a way as to provide checks on the powerful, the strong, and the rich as well as provide provision and protection for the poor, the vulnerable, and the weak.
Our faith teaches us, and we strive to teach our children, that to be good citizens is to love our country enough to point out and name its flaws so that we can repent and work together to form a more perfect union in harmony with God’s dream for America, and for every country, to be places of Shalom.
Our faith teaches us that to be good citizens of America, we cannot skip the third verse of “America the Beautiful.”
To truly be good citizens, we must teach our children to both passionately sing and fervently pray, “America! America! God mend thine every flaw.” ■