Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Mexican War : Politics and Jesus

     I intend someday to post an article entitled, "Truth in US Wars:  The Mexican War,"  but I'm not prepared for that yet.  In the meantime, a few observations.

     There is a song which carries the words of the poet, James Russell Lowell, who, in his day, protested the Mexican War.   The song has found its way into Christian hymnals; here are the lyrics:

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.

Then to side with truth is noble, when we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and ’tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses while the coward stands aside,
Till the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.

By the light of burning martyrs, Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,
Toiling up new Calv’ries ever with the cross that turns not back;
New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of truth.

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.

     As with many Christian hymns, this song shares its tune ("Ebenezer," by Thomas Williams)  with other songs, other lyrics.  Here is one: "O The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus,"  by Samuel Francis:

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

     One song looks outward through moral, ethical, even political eyes; the other looks inward and upward though spiritual, even mystical perceptions.  Yet, in my mind at least, those differing aspects harmonize.

     How different both are from the shrill greed, premeditated violence, and militant ignorance that characterized the United States' war on Mexico, and its discordant, reverberating aftermath, the American civil war.

*       *       *

      Links to "Once To Every Man And Nation." 

      Links to "O The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus."

     Thanks to Becky Akers' brief post at Lew Rockwell's website for the links that suggested this post.

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