For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. — Philippians 3:20
It was a deadly September attack on America. Casualties on our own shores. The nation’s capitol targeted. The White House in danger. Terror. Heroes.
One hero was Francis, a Georgetown attorney heavily involved in national politics. An evangelical Christian, Francis taught Bible classes and witnessed boldly, once telling a friend in Congress, ‘‘Christ alone can save you from the sentence of condemnation.’’
He also wrote hymns like this one:
Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise Thee, / For the bliss Thy love bestows,
For the pardoning grace that saves me, / And the peace that from it flows;
Help, O God, my weak endeavor; / This dull soul to rapture raise;
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.
But nothing prepared Francis for the hostage-recovery mission he undertook at the request of the president of the United States. He was seeking the release of a prominent physician, Dr. Beanes, who had been taken captive. During that assignment he was detained by enemy troops and forced to watch a brutal assault on the eastern seaboard.
Toward the morning of September 14, 1814, when it became clear that American forces had withstood the twenty-five–hour bombardment, Francis Scott Key penned another hymn, scribbling it on the back of an envelope. The first stanza we all know, but have you ever sung the last stanza of ‘‘The Star-Spangled Banner’’?
Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must when our cause it is just.
And this be our motto: ‘‘In God is our trust.’’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
After sunrise, the British released Francis, and back in Baltimore he wrote out this hymn in fuller form and showed it to his brother-in-law, who promptly gave it to a printer who ran off handbills for distribution on the streets. One copy landed in the hands of an unknown musician who adapted it to the tune ‘‘To Anacreon in Heaven.’’ So was born the patriotic hymn that was to become our national anthem.
Excerpted with permission from Then Sings My Soul by Robert Morgan, copyright Robert J. Morgan.
* * *
In God is our trust! As we in America prepare for our Independence Day celebrations, let’s all remember how God has blessed and protected us. He is worthy of our trust! ~ Devotionals Daily