E Pluribus Divertere

How were the fireworks? Thunderous? Exciting? Moving? Did you hear the Declaration of Independence reread? Did you sing the National Anthem? What about other national songs? Did you pray?

Huh? Pray on Independence Day? What for? It’s a celebration of our defeat of tyranny. We should go out and make noise, not sit in church with our heads bowed quietly praying. Let the world know how proud we are.

Pride in one’s country is all good and fine. But what about the providence that helped bring about our freedom to shoot fireworks into the night sky?

The last time that my family ventured downtown for a concert on the 4th my father was in tow in his wheelchair. There’s a great photo of him and my husband with flags surrounding them whilst sitting at the top of the marble steps waiting for the Pops to begin and then the 1812 Overture with cannons and fireworks.

This year, I opted for something completely different than the hubbub of all the crowds and security checkpoints. Church beckoned, with the promise of organ fireworks and a dramatic reading of the Declaration. The way the organ master made the windows shake was better than fighting for blanket space on an overly crowded lawn. A lunch of hot dogs and all the trimmings finished out the morning. More celebration than worship. Any day that you can sing all four verses of “America, The Beautiful” in church, especially the fourth verse about “alabaster cities … undimmed by human tears”, surrounded by folks you know and love is good enough reason to celebrate.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful tradition.

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