Fourth of July is Taste of Chicago time, and I'm ready. I'll go at least a couple of times to the lakefront festival that is chock full of great food with taster portions. Besides the dozens of local restaurants, advertisers set up booths in Grant Park to get in front of the three million people who attend. One popular booth is the Pepsi Challenge. This is where you'll find long lines of people taking a blind taste test to decide whether Pepsi tastes better than Coke.

It gave me an idea: 'The Prayer Challenge.' I took prayers from different beliefs and traditions and asked folks to identify the 'religious brand' and tell me what they liked best. There was no obvious preference. I am delighted to have confirmation of the commonality of prayer. No matter what you believe, or how you practice your faith, the essence of prayer is the same. Coke and Pepsi are both made up of carbonated water and high fructose corn syrup. You may prefer the taste of one, to another, but the sticky sweetness all ends up in the same place, just like prayer.

Parades and Pinwheels

Food and fun,
family and friends.
So much busy-ness
surrounds the holiday.
Please help it be more
than parades and pinwheels.

Even as I celebrate
with those I love,
help me remember
those who make it possible,
the men and women in uniform
who are so far
from those they love.

Life, liberty and happiness
come with a price.
On this very special day,
please bless those
who pay this price for us.



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