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Patriotic Hymns of Faith 4: “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (America)

Patriotic Hymns of Faith Day 4 – “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (America) by Samuel Francis Smith

Written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831, this song served as the national anthem for quite some time before “The Star-Spangled Banner” replaced it in 1931. The melody for this hymn was the same melody used for “God Save the King,” the anthem in the United Kingdom. Originally, the title of this song was simply “America.” Smith wrote this hymn while he was a student at the Andover Theological Seminary. 

The line of this hymn that really stood out to me was this one: Our fathers’ God, to thee, Author of liberty, to thee we sing.”

“Our fathers’ God” reminds us that in the past our nation truly embraced the one true God. He was revered, honored and worshiped by many in our country, and His name had great meaning to most. As our culture has changed, many have abandoned the God of their fathers. We’ve exchanged knowledge for faith. We’ve cherry-picked Scripture and found portions we choose to acknowledge and those we excuse as outdated or inaccurate. 

We say “God is love,” and because He loves us, we exchange His truths for our own way. As Christ followers, we believe His Word is timeless, unchanging, always relevant, and absolutely true—just as it states. This means that culture does not define our beliefs about God—He does. How far removed our nation has grown from this way of thinking, and that has contributed greatly to the moral decay of our country.

I also appreciated how this patriotic hymn refers to God as the Author of liberty. Why might this title be given to Him? Well, for those of us who have experienced true freedom—the freedom from sin—we know the answer. Life here on earth is full of temptation and sinful desires, and those lead us quickly into captivity; as we indulge our sinful nature, we find ourselves enslaved to sin. Only through the work of Christ on the cross of Calvary—accepting His blood as the payment for our own sin—do we find the freedom our souls long for. Our greatest prayer is that each reader would experience the true freedom found in Christ alone.

“America” or “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

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