... hers the scepter, hers the throne?
There was an awkward moment in my mission assignment last week when we'd gotten 'round to the end of the afternoon. In the last 30 minutes of our time at the assisted living facility, we sang hymns with/to the residents. If you've ever stood alongside me in Christian worship, you understand that I may have missed my calling as a Baptist deacon: I'm not always on key, I have only one volume setting, and I know every single song in the Baptist Hymnal, especially the older editions. I was by default a lead voice because I know the songs and I'm not shy (it's really amazing to me how much congregational singing doesn't actually include congregational singing).
When at the end of the session our group decided to sing "America, the Beautiful," it was just a little awkward when my voice was so noticeably absent.
Submitted for your approval, a quick explanation of why it's inappropriate to sing to "America" in Christian worship.
In Christian worship, thanks and praise and supplication are offered to God the Father, through the Son, by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. This is the trinitarian understanding of the relationship between God and God's people.
When in the course of the liturgy, the people of God cease to address the Father, and instead address prayers and praises to the nation-state, we have ceased to celebrate Christian liturgy. While we might pick up the Christian liturgy again after that song, this is an unacceptable foray into another religion. Instead of Trinitarian harmony we've offered pagan cacophony.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Update: You've seen this, right?