- - Sunday, November 29, 2015

Palpable anxiety looms as November gales buffet our Great Lakes shores. In this pivotal moment, was there anywhere amid these United States that a citizen was able to stand united and proud, cheerily awaiting relatives, sons and daughters, little ones, brothers and sisters, and all in the family for a Thanksgiving to remember in 2015?

Who does not notice how gray, tired and gasping Uncle Sam has become? Not a glimmer of cheer, let alone a smile does he shine to remind us of tender times when he stood resolute in virtue and towering in strength to raise us up tall and steady — our hearts thundering in applause.

It’s an ill feeling that tramples our appetites and gathers us in a strange way more like sick people in a waiting room than family reuniting in love and eager for turkey together, and then some pumpkin pie. Did we dare pray?

O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!

In the gloom of darkness, there’s nothing like a spark of light. Call it what you will. In truth, we hunger for the faintest glint of Providence. Sullen moments of trepidation, sometimes seasons of despair, punctuate months and years along the storied path of our still-great homeland. Think of the weary pilgrims leaving merciless Mother England only to face harsh times of poverty, disease, division and persecutions in Plymouth.

In 1630 fresh waves brought the mighty Arabella bearing its weary lot as the Massachusetts Bay Colony aspired to dream again an impossible dream. In a radiant image painted with words borrowed from Jesus, lawyer and preacher John Winthrop encouraged the seafarers to till the soil of hope and become a shining city on a hill.

With fervent heart, he admonished fellow travelers “to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body.”

As an emergency physician pressing the flesh in Metro Detroit, ministering to the wretched afflictions of families, children and suffering communities, I feel the intimate passion that raised this nation and that grieves the rivers of blood spilled in the blind alleys and sulking silos of urban isolation. I know too painfully well how critically ill is our gasping Uncle Sam as his soul bleeds out on the nation’s stretcher. The eleventh hour nears. In the din of our distress, we hear a requiem dirge, a remorseful threnody for our once-thriving nation. Still, a chord of vibrant verse summons a chorus of heavy hearts in wistful harmony:

O beautiful for glory-tale

Of liberating strife

When once and twice,

for man’s avail

Men lavished precious life!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee

Till selfish gain no longer stain

The banner of the free!

“God shed his grace on thee!” we sing with one mind, one heart, rising to our feet. We pray one body that this may be.

In the dark Detroit unease one November night, a newborn wails in the threadbare stillness of an unwed home. No love story is there here of a mom and dad beaming as they plan a life together — no lullaby tonight. Let us ask our Lord that a Motown mom will dare to pray to make a married household with her man and their little one. Just imagine that Marriage Motown 2020 could exist just five years hence with couples marrying by the tens of thousands and married households sprouting everywhere. Will we imagine a nuptial storm of love sweeping our Great Lakes and spreading sea to shining sea? Dare we pray that America will rise again?

O beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam

Undimmed by human tears!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!

Dr. Michael T. Ross, M.D. is a Detroit area emergency physician and founder of Defending Our Fathers House (DOFH.org), a nonprofit advocating for marriage and family life. Dr. Ross sees great hope if America addresses the collapse of family, a major cause of illness, trauma, childhood suffering and our moral and economic decline at home.

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