What we sing is a statement of who we are. The music we choose can be entertaining and, it can hold deeper meaning. And I don’t mean only the music we listen to, but the music we sing, whether we have a “singing voice” or not.
In our church choir, we always sang an “anthem” each Sunday. Usually a piece meant to be inspirational. And, of course, a performance. Yet, we enjoyed singing, and singing together.
National anthems are obviously nationalistic and sometimes militaristic. The American national anthem is, appropriately, patriotic, yet celebrates a battle with rockets and bombs and a flag.
Some may feel that “America the Beautiful” is more fitting, or even “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Probably better than the Christian Nationalist “God Bless America.”
We may think “Waltzing Matilda” is the Australian national anthem but it’s “Advance Australia Fair” that replaced “God Save the Queen.” It sounds a little more like “America the Beautiful,” singing of land and sea and “nature’s gifts.” No mention of God, by the way.
I’m saying all this because one popular song from Down Under has impressed me for a while. It’s been sung by The Seekers and others. “I Am Australian” might be a good model for other anthems. Could it even be adapted as a kind of International Anthem? (I’m also struck that it doesn’t claim the country is especially “blessed” by a god).
Give a listen, and imagine singing this message of inclusive history and unity in America, or any country: