Happy 4th of July!
I’m thankful for God’s grace to all who are blessed to experience the freedom and liberty of the United States.
God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.
Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.
From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.
Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.
-Daniel C. Roberts, 1876
“The hymn was written in 1876 for a celebration of the Centennial Fourth of July, and sung at Brandon, Vermont, to the tune called Russian Hymn! When our General Convention appointed a Commission to revise the Hymnal, I sent it, without my name, promising to send the name if the hymn were accepted. It was accepted and printed anonymously in the report of the Commission. Before the Hymnal was printed, the Reverend Dr. Tucker, late of Troy, editor of our best musical Hymnal, and Mr. George William Warren, organist of St. Thomas’ Church, New York, were appointed to choose a hymn for the centennial celebration of the adoption of the Constitution. They selected this hymn, then anonymous, and wanting a tune, Mr. Warren composed a tune to which it has since been set in the Tucker Hymnal.” (http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/g/f/gfathers.htm)
Though I significantly disagree with the Latter Day Saints on many theological issues, including the eternal nature of the Father and of the Son, and would argue that they have perverted the gospel to the extent of losing it completely, nevertheless I highly respect their excellent musicianship.