Tuesday, July 1, 2008
The Battle Hymn of the Republic is a song that always puts tears in my eyes. It was written in 1861 by Julia Ward Howe. purportedly after hearing Union Troops stationed along the Potomac singing "John Brown's Body".
This was early on in the Civil War and was a warning to the nation about what could be its fate if slavery continued as much as anything. It is a song which warning still is in place to the nation for its practices.
This Blog came about because my friend Ron (Retired in Delaware Blog) sent me an email with a version of the song sung by combined choirs from some public schools. You can hear the version he sent me and see the beautiful graphics added by clicking on the title of this post.
But as I listened and watched, I was struck by a couple things.
First, it was introducted as a "patriotic song". I know it has become associated with the Civil War and is often played by military bands at patriotic affairs, but it really isn't a patriotic song at all. It isn't a song in praise of the United States. Its a religious song in praise of God. The chorus is "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah". Hallelujah means "Praise ye the Lord". It is what the Heavenly Living Creatures sing continulously in Heaven in Revelation 19.
Second, it is amazing that public school choruses were allowed to perform this song given all the separation of church and state that has taken place in these times. I'm sure those fools (yes, I used the word fools as in Proverbs 1:7) who sued to remove "In God We Trust" from our money, would wish to remove this song from public music director's songbooks.
Third, I though of a kind of game. Go through the lyrics of the song and find all the Bible verses being referenced. For instance, is the whole song inspired by Jeremiah 25:30?
"Now prophesy all these words against them and say to them:
'The LORD will roar from on high;
he will thunder from his holy dwelling
and roar mightily against his land.
He will shout like those who tread the grapes,shout against all who live on the earth.'"
Anyway, here are the lyrics to The Battle Hymn of the Republic if you'd like to try and find all the Biblican References:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; His truth is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps; I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps; His day is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel; “As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal”; Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel, Since God is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Since God is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat; Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet; Our God is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me: As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free; [originally …let us die to make men free] While God is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.
He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave, He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave; So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave, Our God is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.
Hallelujah! Praise God, he is marching on!