Living Arts Weekly: From Sea to Shining Sea

July 5, 2020

Oh beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountains majesty
Above the fruited plain
America, America
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy Good with Brotherhood
From sea to shining sea

From Cynthia:

These are the lyrics to America the Beautiful that I grew up with. Like so many
things, I only learned late in my adult life that there are other lyrics in the original
version of this song that do not resonate with this beautiful image of brotherhood
for all.
Today this awakening to so many things “I did not know” can burden me down,
make me feel foolish, ignorant and part of a vile history in which I unwittingly
participated. Waking up can be painful, disturbing, embarrassing, heart-rending –
yet, at the end of the day it wants to be catalyzing. It wants to be a wakefulness
that takes up residence in our hearts and minds and wills us forward to create,
with compassion, the new community based on real communion one with
Today, as we have recently celebrated two festivals of emancipation and
independence – Juneteenth and the Fourth of July – I reclaim these lyrics from my
childhood and disavow the lyrics I only became aware of many years later. May
we reclaim the spacious skies, the grace, the good, and with fortitude create true
brotherhood/sisterhood/humanhood from sea to shining sea and beyond.
May our feeling penetrate into the center of our heart,

And seek, in love, to unite itself
With human beings seeking the same goal,
With the spirit beings who –

Bearing grace, strengthening us from realms of light

And illuminating our love –

Are gazing down upon our earnest, heartfelt striving.

(Verse for America, Rudolf Steiner)

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