Monday, July 09, 2007

Patriotic Mass?

I do hope everyone out there had a great 4th of July! I'm wondering, though, how many of y'all were lucky enough to sing patriotic songs at mass? We were doubly lucky, because we got to sing some 2 weeks in a row! (In case you missed it, there was just a smidgen of sarcasm there.)

Perhaps it's because I'm married to a non-American, but when I hear "America the Beautiful" sung at mass, it just kinda makes me cringe. I'm all for God blessing our country and everything, but I'm also for God blessing the rest of the world too. Maybe I'm just already over sensitive to any hint of fanatical patriotism or nationalism, as I've seen way too many people who think of America as a Messianic country, the New Jerusalem, the Light of the World, and all kinds of other crazy and extremely self-important ideas. So when I'm at mass expecting to sing about God, and open the hymnal to a song about America instead, it just reminds me of all those wacky nut jobs who think America is God's gift to the rest of the world. But I'm not sure if there's some other reason it bothers me, or if I'm just being over sensitive.

So what say ye on patriotic songs at mass? Yea or Nay?

On a side note, I couldn't help but snicker at the line admonishing America (and, presumably, Americans) to "confirm thy soul in self control," as I pondered the rampant consumerism and over-abundance in which we're drowning ourselves.

12 comments:

Cheryl said...

It's very...protestant-y?

I think we've sung one once or twice at our coC - the person who led it works in the military and is (along with a couple of other military-involved folks there) very pro-military.

Which is rather amusing, given that as far as I know, the coC stance overall tends to be to register as a CO on the draft cards.

I do understand the America-as-the-"City on the Hill" type of view as being a bit...annoying? Conceited? Arrogant? I mean, Christ's words were directed toward the apostles and disciples as the future church, not towards a political nation that wouldn't even come about for another 1600 years or so after that writing.

I think the intent was likely good - we should indeed want God to bless our nation and guide it.

But for those who want to feel connected to the Church universal in mass, that sort of thing can work a bit against it. :/

It still strikes me as a very Protestant-y thing to do.

Stephanie said...

It's very...protestant-y?

I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt that way, that's exactly how it felt to me too!

Sara said...

Nay, definitely Nay.

I have no problem with praying for our leaders to lead us wisely and for the safety of those in the military, but something about patriotic songs at mass just isn't right.

Jen Stewart said...

Count me among those who think that patriotic songs are out of place at the Mass. It's as jarring as if someone had burst into 'Happy Birthday'.

Stephanie said...

I agree Sara!

And yes, Jen, that's a good comparison!

jdavidb said...

Cheryl, for the record, the Church of Christ lost its pacifist stance for the most part around World Wars I and II. I know this well because I come from one of the few surviving pacifist lineages. :)

In the past five years I've come to beliefs that David Lipscomb (also of the Church of Christ) espoused in the 1800s in his book Civil Government (available for free online) that basically Christians are to let God handle the government and we are not to govern each other. So I emphatically don't want hymns of praise to the US sung in assemblies of the kingdom of God. :)

My wife holds these beliefs even stronger, and is more than a little bit disturbed when flags pop up in the church building.

Kasia said...

Definitely nay. Patriotic songs don't belong at Mass. And that goes for patriotic songs to any country - they sang a Canadian hymn at the end of the Canada Day Mass at the cathedral in London.

And I've heard "Happy Birthday" in church - specifically at the tail end of a Mass at a nearby parish a few years ago. That really IS jarring.

TheGodFearinFiddler said...

I love America as much as anyone else. But singing patriotic songs in mass borders on blasphemy if you ask me.

esther said...

my parish sang a patriotic song as the closing hymn on the sunday before independence day. 'definitely felt out of place.

btw, did you notice that in the picture you posted the image produced by the sun shining through the flag looks like a cross?

Stephanie said...

Well at least I know I'm in good company!

btw, did you notice that in the picture you posted the image produced by the sun shining through the flag looks like a cross?

Yep, that's why I posted it :-)

4HisChurch said...

For independence day, we choose hymns like "Faith of Our Fathers", "God of Our Fathers", and this version of "Finlandia":
This is my song, Oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
Oh hear my song, oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

Stephanie said...

That's certainly an improvement!