Once to Every Man and Nation

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It’s not enough to pray for murderers, liars, and thieves, nor cheer on their wars; the American church has also exchanged the grand old hymns that inspired generations of Christians for dumbed-down choruses. Here’s a sample of what you’re missing if your “praise leader” favors “contemporary” worship. James Russell Lowell wrote these lyrics “as a poem protesting America’s war with Mexico” in the 1840’s. Whoa! He wouldn’t fit in with modern congregations now, would he?

Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,

In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;

Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight,

And the choice goes by forever, ’twixt that darkness and that light. …

Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong;

Though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong;

Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.

(Complete poem and the haunting tune available here.)

7:40 pm on May 18, 2012