God is still repurposing!

Next week, our nation will be celebrating Independence Day, and no doubt, we’ll be hearing various renditions of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Did you know that this has only been our official National Anthem since March 3, 1931? Before President Hoover signed the congressional resolution in 1931, “Hail, Columbia” and “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” served as de facto National Anthems. This means that there are some people in our communities who can probably remember a time when the United States did not have an “official” Anthem!

This is a picture of the original tune of the Star Spangled Banner with lyrics by Ralph Tomlinson.

Did you also know that the famous melody of the “Star-Spangled Banner” was written by an Englishman, John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men’s social club in London? This tune, known as the “Anacreontic Song,” with lyrics by Ralph Tomlinson, a member of that social club, became a popular drinking song in both the United States, and in Great Britain. Tomlinson’s lyrics extol the pleasures of wine, women and song, encouraging the listener to “Intwine the myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’ vine.” (Venus: goddess of love, and Bacchus: god of wine. Naughty, naughty!) When Francis Scott Key set his words to this popular tune in 1814, however, what was once a drinking song took on new meaning.

Now, 208 years later, it would be unthinkable for an American to use this tune, thus repurposed, in any other way than to honor the Flag of the United States, and all that it represents.

In the same way, it would be unthinkable for a Christian, who has been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ, to return to life as it was without Jesus. Jesus Christ comes to make all things new. He gives us his Holy Spirit, and that Spirit remains in us and with us. No matter what shadows may exist in our past, the light of Jesus Christ dispels the darkness, and forgives all our sins. We are reborn, redeemed and repurposed for the Kingdom of Heaven. So, just as the Anacreontic Song was repurposed from a bawdy drinking song to a solemn Anthem to honor our Flag and our Nation, our lives are repurposed to become representatives of Jesus Christ.

No matter the shadows that may loom large in our hearts, our families, our nation or throughout the world at this time, the Light of Christ shines in the darkness, and the darkness will never overcome it! God still repurposes situations, people and nations! May this truth bring you peace, hope and joy that God is always working to make all things new!

May God bless our nation, and may God bless YOU! 

Shane Spangler8 Posts

Shane Spangler is a native of the Fairview area. He currently serves as pastor of the Fairview United Church of Christ, located at 311 South High Street in Fairview.

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