Did you watch the Super Bowl earlier this month? One hundred and nine million others tuned in and out.
Watching the Super Bowl is super popular. Some people say they enjoy viewing the backround stories on the players. Others say they watch the Super Bowl only for the commercials. I must say this year's "God Made a Farmer" was my favorite.
Some people ignore the big game completely but focus on the elaborate halftime extravaganza. Beyonce, who sang and danced during this year's halftime show, earlier in the week had opened a Super Bowl press conference in New Orleans with a rousing rendition of the national anthem. After a rapturous round of applause by the media in attendance, the singer took questions about her controversial lip-syncing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at President Barack Obama's second inauguration in January.
The pregame show on CBS featured several musical performances including "America the Beautiful" by 26 students from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The honor of performing our national anthem fell to Alicia Keys, who sang the longest recorded version of the first verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner" while seated at a white piano.
It got me thinking. Why is it we only sing the first verse of the song? I decided to look into the other stanzas, and as a Christian, was surprised and elated at what I found.
Francis Scott Key, the author of the poem our national anthem is derived from, was grounded in more than mere ideals of American freedom and bravery. Key's personal hope was in Jesus Christ. As a devout Christian, he led his household in prayer twice each day and ensured those under his roof were at Sunday services.
A member of the Episcopal church, he actively promoted the Gospel message and methods of the evangelical wing of Christ's church. For a while, he even considered ministry, but he remained an attorney, using his legal skills and vast connections to serve the cause of Christ.
The little sung fourth stanza of our national anthem reflects not only Key's faith but the foundation of our nation's Christian heritage. Here it is:
"O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation.
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."
Makes me proud to be an American and a Christian.
Kyle Ermoian is the founding and senior pastor at Celebration Community Church in Hays.