“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” Job 38:2-7
“The morning stars sang” casts a vision of a very immense God moment. You probably know by now that I enjoy most music. I am not a rapper and my daughters will attest that their father did not like that ‘rap crap’ while occasionally driving them and their friends to school. My mother sang in an ‘octet’ and was very proud of the work she and seven other females did in high school at the talent show. When my mom, sister and I would drive to Lincoln we periodically sang along with a song on the radio and mom always encouraged us to sing in parts; I realize that may sound corny, but that was over fifty years ago and we listened to KFAB.
Words to songs have always interested me and I enjoy investigating the composer’s message. While living in Haiti I heard the children at the school at Merrotte sing the Haitian national anthem one morning as the Haitian flag was being raised in the schoolyard. The national anthem of Haiti is the ‘Dessalines Song’ and it honored the patriot Jean-Jacques Dessalines who was a founding father and hero of the war of independence from the French in 1804 could be compared to George Washington as he was he first leader of the Republic of Haiti. The song was written by Justin Lherisson and composed by Nicholas Geffrard and adopted in 1904 and the words in English are as follows.
“For our country, for our forefathers, united let us march; united let us march. Let there be no traitors in our ranks! Let there be masters of our soil. United let us march, united let us march. For our country, for our forefathers. March, march, united let us march. For our country, for our forefathers. For our forebears, for our country let us toil joyfully. May the fields be fertile and our souls take courage. Let us toil joyfully for our forebears, for our country. For our country and for our forefathers, let us train our sons. Free, strong and prosperous, we shall always be as brothers. Let us train our sons for our country and for our forefathers.”
While our national anthem reflects on the battle of 1812 the Haitian national anthem provides more of a theme of unity, working the land and remembering their ancestors; neither anthem offers thanks to God for their victories over oppression and it seems like a missed opportunity. Take another look at the children from Merrotte and consider how blessed these children are to live in a country that is free from foreign oppression but still lives under the dark cloud of vodou; devil worship. Please don’t miss the opportunity to help to provide them with a Christian education and a meal each day they are in school.
I close today with another ‘anthem’ called ‘Songs of praise the Angels sang’ that was written by James Montgomery in 1819.
“Songs of praise the angels sang, Heaven with alleluias rang, when creation was begun, when God spake and it was done. Songs of praise awoke the morn when the Prince of Peace was born; songs of praise arose when He captive led captivity. Heaven and earth must pass away; songs of praise shall crown that day. God will make new heavens and earth; songs of praise shall hail their birth. And shall man alone be dumb till that glorious kingdom come? No; the Church delights to raise Psalms and hymns and songs of praise. Saints below, with heart and voice, still in songs of praise rejoice; learning here, by faith and love, songs of praise to sing above. Borne upon their latest breath, songs of praise shall conquer death; then, amidst eternal joy, songs of praise their powers employ.”
Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay