While no one in their right might would point to Christianity in England, Scotland, or Wales as being the model for a resurgent faith, there are bits and pieces -- little tid bits -- that every now and then show us a remarkably different culture at work than the one we know here across the pond.
You can hardly get a singer to actually sing the National Anthem without turning it into some pop wannabe's audition on American Idol. Half of them forget or butcher the words and the other half make us wish they had not sung at all (okay, so I exaggerate). As bad as it is, it is the best we can hope -- a National Anthem sung at great patriotic occasions like sporting events.
Apparently in jolly old, where rugby and soccer replace baseball and football, in addition to the obligatory "God Save the Queen," they also sing a hymn before the game. "Guide Me, O Thou, Great Jehovah." Our own Lutheran situation got muddled when Jehovah was replaced with Redeemer. A ton of folks were made sorrowful by the wisdom of musicologists (since LW) in replacing the glorious and beloved words of TLH with "Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer" and stealing the tune from "God of Grace and God of Glory." While this disappointed many, the upside is that now we can sing with those across the pond, as they say, when they gather for rugby.
So watch them sing and listen to the worlds. Take note of Tom Jones down on the field leading the song. No hymn books. No jumbo tron with a bouncing ball to lead the song. Just a people who know and love these words as much as they know and love the game itself.
...a Welsh song that's been a great consolation and strength 'round these parts for many years -- the national hymn that doubles as a rugby anthem, sung here on the pitch... and led by the land's best-known export... For the record, when was the last time you heard a hymn at a sporting event? (And, no, "Fly, Eagles, Fly" doesn't count.) So England VS Wales, Wembley Stadium, April 11, 1999....
Did I ever tell you I have a fascination for things British (if Welsh can be considered British)? So watch it already...
HT to Whispers in the Loggia