W.C. Crawford Store / Battle Hymn

W.C. Crawford Store

The W.C. Crawford Store in Williston, Tennessee was built 150 years ago, and it still stands today. The building received some renovation work in the last few years to keep it standing, and now it looks better than it has in quite a while.

I drive by this store, which is more of a museum now, nearly every day. And it is pretty easy to take it for granted sometimes. Until you see people dressed up in vintage clothes posing out front for a photo shoot. Or see a bluegrass group sitting on the porch during the annual Old-Timers festival. Then you are reminded of the history behind this unique building.

W.C. Crawford General Merchandise store in Williston, Tennessee

Photo location: Williston, Tennessee
A three exposure (-2, 0, +2) HDR tonemapped in Photomatix, edited in GIMP

Battle Hymn

One of the songs Jaylin has been working on in his piano practice is the Battle Hymn of the Republic. And yesterday morning as he was getting dressed, he was singing it. Loudly. Which was nice, because it shows that he is interested in what he is playing. Of course, he knew the song already, because we occasionally sing it at church, mainly around patriotic holidays.

As I was listening to him sing the main verse, I started thinking about one of the other verses written by Julia Ward Howe. As it is in our song book at church, it says:

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
As He died to make men holy let us teach* to make men free
While God is marching on.

And if you look to see what that asterisk is for, you see that the original word there was “die.” And it makes me wonder why it was changed.

The song was originally written during the Civil War, so there was much dying going on at that time to make men free. And perhaps someone thought that once the war ended and peace returned to the nation, we should concentrate on teaching others from what those who fought had learned. And in some ways that does make sense. After all, for all the good it accomplishes, war is essentially bad.

However, I think overall the change dilutes the significance of our Christian duty. Just as Jesus gave everything he had to make us holy, so also should we give all that we have to make men free. Not just earthly freedom, but freedom from sin as well. Whatever it takes. For those of us who live in a country free from religious persecution, we may not face physical death every day. But sometimes I wonder if we just do what we think we can do to get by, or if we are really giving our lives to what we say we believe.

As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, while God is marching on!

World Bible School

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.