The Fourth of July is an easy day to remember because it is, of course, American Independence Day.
A few years ago, I exchanged pulpits and altars with a priest in Virginia for the summer and we arrived in the USA just after the fourth. The confetti was still on the streets, the flags were still out.
They really know how to celebrate their national identity and their sense of freedom and independence. It also means that friends of mine whose birthdays are on the 4th of July (in a similar way to my niece’s birthday on Christmas day) are always remembered.
Being a memorable date helps as it is also the date that I was ordained, first in 1992 a deacon and then in 1993 a priest.
This means that yesterday was my ‘silver jubilee’ – 25 years. There was a service at one of the churches which I serve in and friends and family are gathering to mark this milestone.
It also means that embarrassing photographs have appeared of me 25 years ago.
I look thin, pale, enthusiastic and fresh. It will be interesting to do a compare and contrast!
(My wife, I hasten to add, has not changed at all.)
The day was also a day of reflection and contemplation.
I think of the 30 or so people who are now ordained whom I encouraged in their journeying of faith. I think of the hundreds of baptisms and weddings and the young and not so young lives that I have had the privilege of being involved in.
When I also realised that I have taken more than 1,000 funerals it then dawned on me that, with radio work in this country and in South Africa, along with my educational work I have preached, taught or spoken with and to countless numbers of people.
When we throw a stone into a pond it causes ripples that disperse across the surface. It is easy to forget how many people we have contact with and connections with.
An anniversary forces a recognition of all of this. My father once gave me advice to greet people with a smile as it might help lift their day. We all act like the pebbles in the pond and have an impact on others.
Sometimes, as with family, it is a major impact; at other times it might be at a distance.
However, if the 30 or so who are now ordained, similarly engage with 30 or so, and it continues on, then the world will be transformed!