Devotion - July 4

This Saturday’s musical devotional from Anthony Spain will be his last this summer - thank you Anthony for the thoughtful Saturday devotions during this season.

I grew up just a few miles from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, which also meant I was only about 30 miles from Washington D.C.  Being close to both places, I came to appreciate and understand, at an early age, the dedication and sacrifice of so many to our country.

 Hearing the Navy Band and Navy Jazz Band in Annapolis, and the Navy Band in Washington DC, play with such exceptional musical quality, and sheer joy, would also have a profound influence on my development as a musician.

 At the Naval Academy I also heard something that left a profound impression on me, which was the singing of the Navy Hymn by the Midshipmen Choir inside the beautiful Naval Academy Chapel.  We know this hymn as Eternal Father Strong to Save, and I can still remember how it sent shivers up my spine when I heard it sung at the Naval Academy.  

 Sung at the Naval Academy for over 150 years, Eternal Father Strong to Save was the favorite hymn of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and was sung at his funeral in April 1945.  It was also played by the Navy Band in 1963, as President John F. Kennedy's body was carried up the steps of the U.S. Capitol to lie in state.

 At a time when we are reminded about what divides us, we are also hearing more about what unites and brings us together- there is much to be patriotic about on this day.  As we listen to the hymn below, we remember God’s saving grace, the good in our country, and the sacrifice of many.

 Navy Hymn sung by the Naval Academy Glee Club:
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