I love hearing the different anthems at global events, like the Olympics, and watching folk be patriotic.
A national anthem is “a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people.” 1
Most anthems are hymns or marches and are used with lyrics, although not always. They often feature tender moments that make them beautiful and moving. The German and Russian anthems are like this; and there is not a more rousing march than France’s “La Marseillaise“.
A Song to Bind Us
It’s easy to understand their purpose: Anthems are a way to build solidarity. Some societies are more unified than others; and we know this is true because we still see nations torn apart by civil war. A national anthem is a positively patriotic rally device.
It’s not unlike sports, the events where anthems are most widely heard. I call sport the alternative to war. Sport is what we get when hostility is removed from competition; when we agree to disagree for the sake of camaraderie.
I wonder if Heaven has an anthem. It surely wouldn’t be needed to make life there any better. Also, to me, a heavenly anthem might be inclusive of our redemption, but its scope would certainly extend beyond the events of this world.
Moreover, if that anthem exists, it will foremost exalt the Eternal One, as do the renditions in Revelation, and praise his extraordinary wisdom that makes us all, humans and non-humans, the family of God. We’ll all clutch shoulders and belt those verses one day…soon.