There is a very patriotic song sung by the British at the end of the fantastic classical music festival called “The Proms”. Writen by Arthur Benson with very stirring music by Edward Elgar, it goes like this:
Land of hope and glory, mother of the free
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet
The people singing it get into a real feisty mood of nationalistic fervor and everyone celebrates “being British and free”. But when you look at it closely it is actually extolling national expansion ‘wider shall thy bounds be set “in other words colonialism, and increasing military power “make thee mightier yet”. So actually it’s not really a nice song !
But it is this electric mass hysteria of joining together in one voice that makes people so happy when they sing this , reliving Britain’s “Glory Days“ of Empire. Oh how unfashionable that is today, how politically unacceptable , how simply wrong. But the fact is people love this ‘joining together’ in what they believe is a just cause, following stirring nationalistic rhetoric and patriotic themes and this is where we have to be very careful.
Political leaders all over the world search for themes they can unite their supporters under, then milk them to the limit. We saw that in the last US election we see it in Brexit, where the people voted to be free of EU “rule”, we may well see it in the upcoming elections here, as the competing factions search for their unifying theme and banner under which to march to victory.
But like the British still reveling in their old memories of “ greatness” we have to take care not to make the same mistake and confuse political propaganda with real care for the people, not to raise the banners of fear rather than hope, not to blindly follow the rousing songs rather than listening to the deeper meaning of the words.
This is the lead up to Christmas when the world was set free 2019 years ago, so I urge you to wish peace and good will to all mankind , to celebrate unity and friendship and live everyday with joy in your hearts. Let’s leave the exercise in power to our creator in whose hands we are safe.
Merry Christmas to all our Christian readers.