USA Today carried an article by Greg Toppo that told of the National
Anthem Project. What is the purpose? Teaching people the words and meaning
of the Star Spangled Banner. According to creators of the project six out of
ten people claim to know the words, but fewer than four out of ten can actually
recite them. In what came as a surprise to pollsters, surveys indicated that
only 31% of those fifty and older could get the words right while 45% of the
18 to 35 year olds could. The National Anthem project is sponsoring a record
setting performance of the song and many celebrities have signed on to help.
Not only do they want people to know the words they want them to understand
the meaning. They want people to know what the “bombs bursting in air” refers
to and what is behind the “see through the night.” Preachers have a similar
duty. Many in the church claim to know the Bible well. Do they really? Even
if they know the books, chapters and verses, do they know the meaning of those
words? This is the preacher’s challenge and opportunity.
Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati,