Tomorrow night our church is going to have its first 4th of July outreach at our new church building. What is so great about our location is that it’s just over the hill from the local park which has a fireworks show each year.
It should be a fun night – our small town’s fireworks show isn’t anything like the national extravaganza in Washington DC. Our local production consists of 10 Roman candles shooting up into the sky followed by the “grand finale” – a whole pack of ladyfingers set off at once. It’s really something folks.
We plan on setting up grills and giving out free hot dogs and hamburgers to all our friends and the locals who come up to our parking lot to watch the fireworks display. We are also going to set up a dunking booth – we’ll have a clown manning the booth and getting dunked – me. We figure this will give people a great opportunity to vent all their frustrations toward me, rather than having to come in and talk to me personally.
I can just picture it now – I’m sitting on the dunking seat and up steps a man who yells, “This is for the counsel you gave me to buy that choice swamp property in Florida.” He throws the ball, hits the target and down I go – splash. Next guy – “This one’s for the time I asked for prayer for boldness and you prayed for baldness.” Splash. Next guy – “This one’s for all the comments about country music.” Splash.
Since I’ve been a pastor here for over 30 years, I’m expecting to get dunked a lot of times.
I have great childhood memories of the 4th of July.
Back then, there were no “safety regulations.” Any 12-year-old could go to a fireworks stand and buy M-80s without his parents ever knowing or caring (an M-80 is one eighth of a stick of dynamite I’m told). An M-80 could blow your finger off – and lots of kids did just that. It was a good lesson for the kids, though, when it happened, one they’d never forget: Always throw dynamite after you light it. Losing fingers or digits wasn’t such a bad thing though. When you healed up you could stick your now shortened finger up your nose and it would look like your whole finger was jammed in there.
Back then we could also buy “Black Cats”– firecrackers which were slightly less potent than M-80s, but could still blow your fingers off. I regularly bought these, and my parents were no more concerned than if I’d purchased a Howdy Doody puppet. I guess because my dad survived World War II, he figured a Black Cat couldn’t really hurt me that much. My favorite thing to do with Black Cats was to stick them in the cockpits of my model airplanes, light them, throw them and watch them explode.
It was also fun to stick Black Cats into ant holes. It would be the equivalent of someone sticking a hydrogen bomb in my chimney and detonating it.
We won’t have any M-80s or Black Cats at our church outreach. But if you’re in the neighborhood around 7:30, come on over and dunk the pastor. Of course if you dunk me, remember I’ll be preaching next week and I can make fun of you from the pulpit. Especially if you like country music. Or if it takes you more than one throw to dunk me.