Tomorrow, in the United States, we will celebrate our country’s independence. I absolutely love celebrations and am particularly fond of the Fourth of July. Fireworks and relaxing time spent with good friends are highlights of this day for me. I usually conjure up visual images such as banners and stoles for special days within the year, but for the Fourth of July I hear the music of patriotic hymns dancing in my mind.
A favorite, “O Beautiful for Spacious Skies” by Katharine Lee Bates was written when her soul was stirred by the expansive earth below and the spacious skies above while hiking Pikes Peak in Colorado. She wrote, “It was there as I was looking out over the amber skies, that the opening lines of this text formed themselves in my mind.” Reportedly she immediately set to writing the hymn while in Colorado Springs.
I adore hiking the mountains and have had the pleasure of traveling to the top of Pikes Peak so I can relate to Ms. Bates reaction to her experience. There are many other places in this grand world that can provide those “mountain top moments”. I’m proud to be an American but after reading the history of this hymn I also think the wonderfully descriptive words it contains can be supplied for many places on this wonderful planet. Thanks be to the Creator.