From the Pastor’s Desk, 7/4/22

 I’m writing this column on Independence Day. I know, I’m supposed to have the day off, but since I have no specific plans for the day, I decided to get some work done. Plus, celebrating this year has less appeal than in previous years. Sure, I’m fully aware that this day is set aside as a national holiday to celebrate this country’s independence. It seems, though, that celebrating has moved in a direction more toward prideful exceptionalism. The waving of flags, the playing of patriotic songs, the chanting of U-S-A, and the fetish over fireworks seems to have sights set on this nation being better than any other.

  My intent with these comments is not to stir up anger and argument or diminish anyone’s love of country. Rather, I hope I can offer an opportunity to seriously reflect on what it means to celebrate this special day.

   In my view, celebration is not a prideful act but instead a humble one. In humility, we remember the efforts put forth to give birth to a new nation. In humility, we consider the opportunities before us to help make this nation one where people can secure independence from oppression, live in absence of fear of being rejected, and enjoy being able to express our views and thoughts without concern of facing or passing judgment. Humble celebration is more of a somber act, not throwing fists in the air but standing quietly in awe at the impact independence has placed and continues to place on us.

   This evening, sans any weather conditions to the contrary, I’ll take in the fireworks display presented by the City of Canton. By taking part as a viewer, I’m engaging in this year’s 4th of July celebration. I do so in the spirit of the preceding paragraph. I’m grateful that I live in a country that provides opportunities to move freely, to share opinions, to have choice in religious expression, and to accept responsibility for respecting and caring for others. I’ll remember as I watch the exploding sparkles that the light of this country is not to outshine any other, but to join with others to make this world a place where all can live in harmony and be assured of justice for all.      

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