Monday, July 1, 2013

Pray4America (part 9) - America, the Beautiful - 1893 to 2013

Pikes Peak/Wikipedia

Recently, I visited Colorado Springs.  It was planned a few months ago, but as fate would have it, I came after the terrible fires in the region - more specifically the torching of Black Forest. [reference: span style="color: orange;"Colorado Black Forest fire burn scar | Earth | EarthSky] 

Pikes Peak - 2013

Below is a picture I took outside my motel in southwest Colorado Springs, looking toward Pikes Peak, about a week after the fires were under control - June 23, 2013.  And you can see the effects of the air pollution in this shot.  It has an eerie beauty from the effects of the disaster.

smithsk - southwest Colorado Springs
Talking with some guests and hotel workers, this chain had taken in many of the evacuees from the fires.  And I noticed in the parking lot a car from a national insurance company, who undoubtedly will be very busy processing claims.  

On the way home, I drove by the edge of Black Forest and experienced a sample of the devastation, as seen in this shot.  As you can see, this is one of the 500 houses that did not make it.

smithsk - Black Forest house, no more
But I noticed a spirit of gratitude for the efforts of the fire fighters, rescuers, and countless others that came to  the aid of the fire victims.  This is one of the hand made "Thank You" signs I spotted displayed in the fire damaged regions.

smithsk - Thank You from Black Forest
Even in this tragedy, so many expressed a spirit of gratitude, especially for those that went into harm's way to protect lives and  property . 

Pikes Peak - 1893

As the Fourth of July nears, this same region had inspired a teacher - 120 years ago.  Katharine Lee Bates wrote a poem, which was first published for the Fourth of July edition of the Congregationalist  in 1895.  The poem was set to music by Samuel A. Ward and published in 1910 under the title - America, the Beautiful. [reference:  America The Beautiful]

America, the Beautiful/wikipedia

And here is a beautiful rendition of it, with images throughout the land as well as American history:

The vista from the Pikes Peak, which inspired this song that almost became our national anthem, now looks over the scars left by the fires in Black Forest.  Yet beyond the physical scars, there rose from the ashes a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude.  And such is express in this prayer of Habakkuk that takes us to the high places - even above Pikes Peak.

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habakkuk 3:17-19  (NIV)

This Fourth of July and the rest of the year, may we live above our circumstances and cultivate a beauty, not only in our land, but most important in our spirit.  

And may God, rich in grace and mercy, heal the scars in our land and our hearts as we continue to ...

Pray for America! 


 Previous posts on this topic:


Previous posts in this series:

Pray4America (part 1) - National Day of Prayer (2012)

Pray4America (part 2) - FDR's prayer on D-Day (2012)

Pray4America (part 3) - FDR's Flag Day prayer - June 14, 1942 (2012)

Pray4America (part 4) - It's a Wonderful Life, America (2012)

Pray4America (part 5) - United we stand? (2012)

Pray4America (part 6) - Christmas in Iran 1980 (2012)

Pray4American (part 7) - For such a time as this (2013)


and from smithsk, yours truly :)

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