Home Wednesday Word

Wednesday Word

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride

from every mountainside, Let freedom ring

Greetings all!  All of us are probably familiar with the hymn above, heard many times this time of year; “My Country ‘tis of Thee.”  It was the first hymn that we sang Sunday at our church.  But I wonder how many of us know “The Story Behind the Song.”  I didn’t, so I looked it up.  Here’s what I found:

The American patriotic hymn “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” was written in 1831 by Samuel Francis Smith, a student at Andover Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. Smith was inspired to write the song after composer Lowell Mason asked him to translate some German songbooks. Smith was particularly struck by one of the songs, “God Bless Our Native Land”, which was set to the tune of “God Save the King”, the United Kingdom’s national anthem. Smith decided to write his own original patriotic song for America using the same melody. He called the song “America” at the time, but it is now better known as “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”. 


     What I found even more interesting was that Smith’s expression of patriotism in the song was influenced in part by the Second Great Awakening, a religious revivalist movement:


The Second Great Awakening was a Protestant religious revival during the late 18th to early 19th century in the United States. It spread religion through revivals and emotional preaching and sparked a number of reform movements. Revivals were a key part of the movement and attracted hundreds of converts to new Protestant denominations.


The story behind the song really struck a chord and came full circle for me when one of our guest speakers Sunday opened with this statement:


“Right now, in our country, we have more of a Spiritual problem than we do a political one.”


He then charged us to go out and witness in our communities, spreading the name of Jesus throughout the land (my paraphrase).  Now make no mistake about it:  I still believe that we live in the greatest country in the world.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we live in the most Christian nation, at least not as much as it used to be.  Now don’t mistake this as a trip down memory lane to another time, but rather as a charge to go out and share about who truly gives us freedom, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Fellow believers, it’s time for another revival!  In fact, some would say that’s already happening in our country. Praise God!


I’ll close with our Afternoon Pick-Me-Up from Monday, 2 Corinthians 3:17:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.


Grace and Peace,



The WBFJ Wednesday Word is a weekly email written by the WBFJ Staff. It’s short, simple, encouraging and provides a look behind the microphone to the heart of this ministry and the people that help make it happen.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.