The Rocket's Red Glare

And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Our National Anthem

Okay, I know this verse from our national anthem is not about a fireworks display, but it was the best descriptor of one I recently saw after a ball game the day before the 4th of July. I was sitting there in Denver, Colorado after a Rockies' game with 17 other folks from Happy, TX enjoying one the best display of fireworks any of us had ever seen.

I say "one of the best" because the best displays occurred during my childhood. My cousin Judy's birthday fell on the 4th, so we always went to her Mammaw & Pappaw's for cake, ice cream and sparklers. All of us kids would then load up with Dad and Uncle Richard, head to a fireworks stand and then to a vacant field for an evening of sheer excitement.

My favorite was the pop bottle rocket. You could get a gross for a few bucks and then spend about an hour setting them off, one by one. I can still remember the acrid smell of the "punk" as I crept up to light the fuse of those bottle rockets. You would wedge a heavy glass coke bottle (one you had emptied just a few minutes earlier as a special treat) in the sand, place a rocket in the bottle with the fuse hanging out over the top and... light the fuse! The bottle rocket would make a sizzling sound as it lifted into the air, higher and higher, until finally it exploded with a loud "pop" that only real gun powder can produce. It was glorious!

It's a little bittersweet looking back on those times now, because I know they will never return. You only get to be a kid once and, as thrilling as setting off fireworks with your kids and grandchildren is, it just doesn't have the same sense of wonder it held when you were a kid with a heavy glass coke bottle, a freshly lit punk and 144 firecrackers on a stick.

I'm looking forward to Heaven... I don't want to reduce the glory of being in God's presence to the popping of a few fireworks - that's not my point - it's just that I think the mystery and wonder and childlike awe will return to our existence there. And, I've kinda missed those feelings.

Then I saw a new heaven... and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them, He will wipe every tear from their eyes..." and He who sat upon the throne said, "Behold I make all things new."

Revelation 21:1, 3-4, 5, RSV