Homeland songs and anthems

Inspired by the Olympics, last Sunday the postlude at Rainbow Mennonite consisted of Karen Goering Hostetler playing several measures from a number of national anthems: Australia, Canada, China, Columbia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, and representing USA, she played “America the Beautiful.” Karen looked for a song that might represent the Refugee Olympic Team, but when that proved to be too difficult, she asked us to remember them as we listened.

“I hope it gives a sense of our connectedness to all nations and our hope for peace in the world,” Karen said.

You can view her 6+minute postlude here:

This coming Sunday we will pick up on this theme of homeland anthems and songs.

In preparation, I invite everyone to create a playlist of your ten most important songs. Currently, The Mennonite is featuring monthly playlists from different individuals across Mennonite Church USA reflecting on their top 10 most important songs. You can see them here: https://themennonite.org/?s=my+top+10+songs

Or consider this: A friend of mine recently collected short stories/reflections (100 words or fewer) about meaningful hymns/songs from childhood. This was a fun, yet challenging exercise. Below is what I came up with. Anybody else want to try?


I have fond memories of my parents leading us in song around the breakfast table. “Each morning brings us fresh out-poured,” they sang energetically while us kids wiped sleep out of our eyes. By the third stanza we were all singing along. I like to think that we unleashed these lovely words and notes into the universe so often in my growing up years, that they have once again found me as an adult. Now I sometimes awake in the early hours of the morning with this song on my heart (Psalm 40:3).

Hymn title: Each morning bring us
Text: Johannes Zwick
Music: Wittenbergisch Gesangbuchli, 1537

And what about at Rainbow? If we as a congregation voted on the ten most important hymns at Rainbow, which hymns would win the gold, silver, and bronze?

Finally, and going back to Karen’s consideration of the Refugee Team, what about those who are cut off from their homeland and the music therein? Furthermore, what sorts of songs speak of the refugee crisis around the world? I think of Psalm 37:1-4 (below). How might this sound put to music?

By the rivers of Babylon— there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion.

On the willows there we hung up our harps.

For there our captors asked us for songs, and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?

I look forward to joining in homeland songs of hope and lament this coming Sunday at Rainbow.

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3 Responses to Homeland songs and anthems

  1. glendakansas says:

    Hi Ruth,

    I really miss church!! I keep saying “someday” I’ll get a good night’s sleep so I’m rested & also my body will be limber enough to get ready in time to get myself to 9:30 church! Every time I run into Phil at a funeral (too many of those, huh?!) he says something about sending the video of the services to me, but he’s busy. Is there a regular site us ‘home-bound’ members can check on a regular basis? Even if it’s several weeks later I’d love to see the whole service with hymns, special music & announcements.

    It was great to see Kristin’s sermon! Now that I’m almost 63 yo I think I’m allowed to say an “old person thing” (although according to my kids I’ve been doing “old people stuff” for a long time lol). I was church secretary for her dad, Don & Frank when she & her sister were growing up. Her sister was older, but neither of them probably remember me as much as I remember them as sweet little girls. They may remember me if their dad used my name in vain if I messed up 1 of 2 bulletins or newsnotes each week or a 4-6 page, front & back, monthly newsletter! Seeing my mistakes while typing those stencils was hard until it printed on the ink drum, but then it was too late! My most renowned mistake on the Mennonite bulletin was for the hymn, ‘Oh, Young & Fearless Prophet’, which I typed as ‘Oh, Young & Rearless Prophet’! Even Frank didn’t notice it until the congregation started to giggle when we were ready to turn to our hymnals! I think he sent that one into a “Church Secretary Bloopers” column.

    I’m behind on my reading because I’m just starting to pull out of a 3 month Chronic Fatigue Syndrom flare-up that has me sleeping 10-12 hr per day, but not ever feeling rested, my arms & legs feel like lead and my mind is more foggy than even ‘fibro fog’. ‘CFS fog’ makes my mind retain very little, so reading is pointless. I can push thru fibro pain enough to go to Dr appts & the store, even if I have to ride the cart sometimes. But to be honest, when I’m totally home-bound with these Chronic Fatigue Syndrom flare-ups it can be very depressing some days.

    I love your blogs (?); the subjects, what you have to say and your writing style! I just now read this blog. My input, which is too late, would have been in the United Methodist Hymnal, #437, “This Is My Song”. (in the old Mennonite Hymnal we had a slot inside the back cover where a copy of this was placed; I’m not sure if we have that slot in the new hymnal. The lyrics (and the tune probably contributes to the mood, which I think is the same as Finlandia), always makes me cry. It may have been a good one to represent the refugees. I asked my girls who are grown women what they thought of singing the first 2 stanzas at my memorial service and they weren’t too sure. Maybe if someone talks about our family’s peace activism I initiated in the 1970s & 80s it might fit in. The 3rd stanza is fine except for “Let Christ be lifted up till all shall serve him” which, to me, has that missionary idea of converting all peoples to Christianity which is not part of my belief system.

    I haven’t felt like talking to anyone on the phone or writing emails for these past 3 months! This is my first communication with the outside world; a bit more disjointed & rambling than even my usual style. Lucky You!

    Seriously, it’s always nice to know you’re there!



    • Glenda Campbell says:

      I’m so sorry this was so long & not right to the point relating to a suggestion for a hymn relating to the homelands of refugees! I thought I sent this as a personal email until someone mentioned to me how they’d read it in this open forum. Had I known this was going to be public I wouldn’t have kvetched about my illnesses!

  2. pip1943 says:

    The New Collossus would be good for the refugee team! https://vimeo.com/150168953

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