“And the king’s portion from his possessions for the burnt-offerings, for the burnt-offerings of the morning and the evening and the burnt-offerings for the Sabbaths and for the New Moons and for the appointed seasons, as is written in the Law of the Lord (Chronicles II 31:3).” I’m reaching a bit on this one, but today is the Fourth of July and I was hoping to find some kind of connection with the text. Burnt offerings made me think of the ubiquitous fireworks, crackers, and sparklers that are all over the place today. They’re a classic symbol, and one of my personal favorite parts, of the holiday. This year, the 4th feels a bit different, a bit more urgent, than it has in the past. American values are a battleground forum at this stage, and what it means to be an American is a source of great debate and angst for many. So while we may not all be celebrating the same thing, or the same vision today, and that’s part of a much larger conversation about the direction the country is heading in, my own pride today comes from the bedrock values actualized on the original July 4th – life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. Happy 4th, everyone!