America the Beautiful

New verses by Kaaren Ray

'Oh beautiful for spacious skies'",
these words within us sear."Amazing Grace",
"In God we trust",
we sing to lessen fear.
America! your greatest hour
God offers now within,
if you will seek the voice of peace
in brotherhood to mend.

Creation we have badly marred
as we have fostered greed,
the poor exploited globally
this to our children feed.
America! oh we have thought
that God's own heart was draped
within a flag of arrogance
as we our neighbors raped.

So what then is our "finest hour"
as we our losses mourn?
How do we stave our raging off
when justice must be borne?
A perpetrator's twisted face
is mirrored by our own,
and we must seek the God of Grace,
humility to hone.

Not bombs, not war, not strategies
that fester death's own reign.
Not tools of war, not false intent,
grief's stance to alter pain.
America! 'In God we trust'
calls vision to the fore
that heart's at risk discernment quest
in peace for evermore.

In every place both near and far
our children cry for bread,
By Columbine nor Kosovo
nor Bangladesh not fed--
By Israel nor Palestine,
nor Belfast, Ivory Coast.
A mother's cry of anguish serves
to pass the cup, the host.

The voice of Islam weeps aloud,
a Jewish child responds.
On bended knee a man of Christ
gives Sufi's child an arm.
A Hindu baby smiles within
a Buddhist mother's care.
The sins of war rage at the door,
yet peace is in the air.

"Amazing Grace", we are the wretch,
we co-creators too,
the architect's of children's cries
in all we say and do.
We must not own the path of war,
rebellious children be,
for we are called to vision's shore
from sea to shining sea.

Oh beautiful, now lift your head
and see a face within,
that waves a flag of peacefulness
--the global family in.
Strip off the songs that wage the war:
"bombs bursting in the air",
"In God we trust", "Amazing Grace,"--
these words already there!

Kaaren Ray (

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