The eloquent, passionate renditions of in the wake of Sept. 11 couldn't help but instill a sense of renewed patriotism in the U.S. populace. Many images that accompanied the singing of the song portrayed much of what is good about our country. The circumstances gave reason to pause and give thanks for the many blessings God's "grace has shed on thee."
In the context of giving thanks for the graces shed on U.S. citizens, it's useful, indeed essential, to consider a theological perspective when talking about grace. To do less easily leads to distortion, if not complete denial, of God's nature and how God relates to all of creation.
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