This is our flag, a hymn — Jim Burklo

What words describe our reaction to specific flags?

This hymn comes in two versions: international and specific to the United States of America (scroll down).  The tune is Finlandia.

International version
This is our flag, inviting every nation
To human freedom and democracy
We lift it high, and sing out our devotion
In harmony from our diversity
Our creeds and tongues and points of view are many
We stand as one defending liberty

This is our flag: a banner stitched from patches
That we have gathered from so many lands
Into this tapestry we’re sewn together
Raising our flag, and all for which it stands
Our loyalty binds us all together
Under our flag, in humble unity

This is our flag: it waves for all our people
Who gave their lives extending liberty
It waves for votes in free and fair elections
It welcomes migrants yearning to be free
It stands for truth, the rule of law, and justice
Long may it wave, held high by you and me!

USA version
This is our flag, inviting every nation
To human freedom and democracy
Red, white, and blue: we sing out our devotion
In harmony from our diversity
Our creeds and tongues and points of view are many
We stand as one defending liberty

This is our flag: its stars and stripes are many
As we have gathered from so many lands
Into this tapestry we’re sewn together
Raising our flag, and all for which it stands
Our Constitution binds us all together
Under our flag, in humble unity

This is our flag: it waves for all our people
Who gave their lives extending liberty
It waves for votes in free and fair elections
It welcomes migrants yearning to be free
It stands for truth, the rule of law, and justice
Long may it wave, held high by you and me!

Editor’s note:  I’ve included this nation-specific version in Worship Words, because I would have appreciated having it available when I served a congregation in the USA, and when Independence Day Sunday came along each July.  In the USA, the national flag often hangs at the front of a church worship area, in the front of the sanctuary.  In some it has been removed; in others it stays.  Unlike many other national flags seen merely as symbols of that nation, or, as in the UK as historic military regalia, the national flag in the USA has been glorified in itself, moving into an arena beyond symbolic or historic.  Considering the often devisive arguments about its presence or absence in worship, Jim’s words remind a congregation of its simple symbolism.

Photo: ‘A flag for everyone’, Wellington, New Zealand — taken by Ana Gobledale