I Vow To Thee My Country

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Something for the weekend.  In 1921 Gustav Holst set to music a poem by Cecil Spring-Rice.  The song movingly reminds Christians that they have two homelands, one they can see and one they cannot.  This song is a favorite for Remembrance Day ceremonies in Britain and the Commonwealth.

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.


And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.




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  1. Magnificent music, glorious voice, stirring lyrics. Thanks for posting this. I discovered Katherine Jenkins about a year ago–I was with my sister when she died after a long battle with ovarian cancer. As Anne died, Katherine Jenkins’ rendition of “Abide With Me” was playing on the radio with these magnificent lyrics:

    Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes,
    Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
    Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee,
    In life in death, O Lord, abide with me.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Donald. No, it certainly was not merely fortuitous. The very next song was the Hallelujah Chorus. She closed her eyes to “Abide With Me”, and opened them to the glory of the Risen Lord.

  3. Yes! The Church’s heritage includes music, painting, sculpture, architecture, all happy tributes to Our Lord and blessings to us, too. I have taken to remaining silent when the appointed hims are no more than the audio equivalent of felt banners. When good hymns have been “corrected” for modern and oh-so-delicate sensitivies I always sing the original words.

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