Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rest Day 2 - America.

"Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land." 
-2 Chronicles 7:14

"Some nations boast of their armies and weapons, but we boast in the Lord our God."
-Psalm 20:7

Today, Sunday, 24 May 2009, is our second rest day of the trip. We had one last week but pedaled to do a little catching up so it really wasn't the real thing. Today was the real thing! Margaret, Jonathan, and I attended the Contemporary Worship Service at First Baptist Church in Minot, North Dakota. One of the four pastors on staff, Gordon Kroeker, spoke on, "Remembering: Making Everyday Memorial Day!" His text was Joshua 4:1-9; 19-24. He spoke about Joshua and his command for twelve men to pick up one stone each that would be used to build a place of remembrance to the Lord. It would also serve as a reminder to the children for years to come. Pastor Gordon said this memorial was set up as, 1) a time to remember, 2) a time of renewing personal commitment, and 3) a time of renewing corporate commitment. Our problem is . . . we forget. We forget what God has done for us. We forget the price Jesus paid. We forget that America was established on the principles of God's Word. We forget the ultimate price men and women have paid for our freedom and liberty. We forget.
In high school I was never one to be involved in sports. I took the safer roads and was involved in art, yearbook staff, and choir. One of my favorite people at Susquehannock High School near Glen Rock, Pennsylvania was a short lady who did the choral music, Mrs. Melba Zarfos. She loved what she did and it was obvious. Often, under her leadership, we would find ourselves in area churches doing Sunday evening concerts. Many times since then I have found myself humming or singing songs that I learned from Mrs. Zarfos. Yesterday as we were pedaling into Minot I started remembering the words to one of my favorite patriotic songs. There is nobody in America who is more patriotic than I am. There are many, I'm sure, who are equal in patriotic but not one who are more! I still get tears at the sight of Old Glory blowing freely in a good breeze. Because of my patriotism I love this song. The song? "This Is My Country." The words, as best as I can remember?

This is my country! Land of my birth!
This is my country! Grandest on earth!
I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold,
For this is my country to have and to hold.

What diff'rence if I hail from North or South
Or from the East or West?
My heart is filled with love for all of these.
I only know I swell with pride and deep within my breast
I thrill to see Old Glory paint the breeze.

With hand upon my heart I thank the Lord, For this my native land,
For all I love is here within her gates.
My soul is rooted deeply in the soil on which I stand,
For these are mine, my own United States.

This is my country! Land of my choice!
This is my country! Hear my proud voice!
I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold,
For this is my country! To have and to hold.

Scores and scores of men and women who believed in America, pledged their allegiance, defended her, and still do today. Memorial Day is for them. 
From our bulletin this morning: "MEMORIAL DAY is a National Holiday on the last Monday of May. It used to be called 'Decoration Day', because people would go to the graveyards and decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. Tradition says that an elderly woman went to decorate the graves of her two sons in 1863, and then went to the graves of two Union soldiers. She claimed that somewhere their mothers were grieving for them and on that day they should be remembered as well as all others who lost their lives."
To our men and women in uniform, I salute you. 
To America, I pledge thee my allegiance.


  1. We heard the same scripture and sermon at our church today. You sure brought back some memories when you spoke of the old school and Mrs. Zarfos. Your patriotic song sounded pretty good to me. My prayers are going up for you and your crew and may the wind always be at you back to make ytour trip faster and easier. By the way I was at a church supper last night and we had some Carman's ice cream.

  2. Ah, yes - I remember having Mrs. Zarfos also while I was at Susquehannock. Although she had changed some of her song selections when I was there in the early 80's. I remember fondly the "Heavy Metal Medley" with selections by AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Metallica and more. Even today I credit her with musical fire I carry in my belly, and with teaching me all the words to "Light My Fire" by the Doors.

  3. Thanks for reminding me of that song I also learned in middle school! Your writings are fascinating--I enjoy them so much!!