July Fourth—So many meanings, so many paths
Growing up in south-central Kansas, I don’t believe I ever heard anyone refer to the date of July Fourth without, in the same breath, calling it Independence Day. I also heard it called “Firecracker Day” or “Family Picnic Day.” But, the big question in our family was always, “How are you going to celebrate the Fourth of July?” That question had as many possible answers as we had relatives! (Undoubtedly true for many of you as well.)
And that brings us to today, July 2nd, 2020, moving towards a July Fourth celebration probably unlike any we have ever experienced with “social distancing” and “phased openings,” and perhaps giving us an even greater appreciation for how we actually can celebrate.
Let me make a suggestion.
Ponder for a moment, the joy we have in being able to read the books we love and listen to the music that moves us. What songs to come to mind—what texts —perhaps even one in the same?
For me, it’s often the hymns I learned as a kid. Whether it be Amazing Grace, or America the Beautiful, the joy of re-hearing these pieces makes me ponder that childhood about a mile from the nearest wheat field and re-experience the fun “and heat” of those days with much gratitude for those relatives and the upbringing they gave me.
In some ways, these songs (which is how I learned the words!) changed my life. That’s why I was taken with Henry Carrigan’s book entitled Fifteen Spirituals That Will Change Your Life. They have and they will continue to do so. Take a look and listen to these works he discusses.
The title of this blog may seem funny, but I really believe that one of our greatest “independences”—and perhaps one of our best paths to celebrate July Fourth—is the rehearsal of gratitude for this aspect of our lives.