A Prayer for Independence Day

Yesterday we sang America the Beautiful as the closing hymn during worship. The first verse, especially the first few lines, is well known, but the second and third verses are not. I thought I would reprint them here. The more carefully I consider them the more detailed nuance and biblical references I find. Since they were written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1904 they’re in the public domain.

1. O beautiful for spacious skies,
for amber waves of grain;
for purple mountain majesties
above the fruited plain!

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee,
and crown thy good with brotherhood
from sea to shining sea.

2. O beautiful for heroes proved
in liberating strife,
who more than self their country loved,
and mercy more than life!

America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
till all success be nobleness,
and every gain divine.

3. O beautiful for patriot dream
that sees beyond the years
thine alabaster cities gleam,
undimmed by human tears!

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
confirm thy soul in self-control,
thy liberty in law.