Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Matthew 11:28-29 Today, Learn from Jesus—who is gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. This is a Wekivaword.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Psalm 55:22 - Today, trust the Lord to sustain you. This is a Wekivaword.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Psalm 23:4 - Today, God is with you; God’s rod and staff will comfort you. This is a Wekivaword.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Psalm 9:9 Today, the Lord is your stronghold; trust in the Lord. This is a Wekivaword.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Be careful who you worship

London is preparing for the Olympics. 

That is the headline of the day.  I am planning to watch the opening ceremonies and to be amazed and amused by the spectacle as well as gratified to see the fine young women and men who are gathered together to do their best as individuals and as teams, on behalf of themselves and their native lands.  There are few events as dramatic, joy-filled, impressive, poignant and amazing as the Summer Olympic Games. 

Compare and contrast if you will the sad news of late out of the central Pennsylvania community that I called home for the four years I was an undergraduate at Penn State. 

Any Nittany Lion is saddened beyond description by the revelations of foul deeds hushed up or hidden away.  We have heard the Freeh Report, in which the former FBI director indicts President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President‐Finance and Business Gary Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy Curley and the late head football Coach Joe Paterno for showing "no concern" about the then alleged and now proven victims of Jerry Sandusky, the one time assistant football coach.  (The account of the events covered in the report is sickeningly chilling to read).  We have shed many a tear for those young boys who were horribly abused.  And we have shed more than a few tears for the students, professors, administrators and townspeople in and around State College whose good and excellent work has been wrongly tainted by proximity to (without any association with) a few very bad apples. 

We have seen Joe's statue taken down. We have seen the football team's record revised dramatically.  We have read about the financial consequences, the NCAA sanctions and decrees.  You will have your opinion on that and our minds will perhaps run along the same lines in many ways.  Some of what could have been done or should have been done, the Freeh Report makes clear.  Some, we may never know. 

London.  Penn State.  As in any other human pursuit, in amateur sports we experience the good, the bad, and everything else in between. 

We live in a broken world and we cannot fix it on our own.  We need the healing, wholeness and hope that can be found only when we place our lives into the hands of the Living One, who came that we might have live and have it abundantly.

I fear that something of Louis Freeh's report will be lost amid the other dramatic scenes from Happy Valley.  His report cautioned against the decades-long cult of hero worship with regard to sports figures.  I believe that he or someone close to him must be a true Presbyterian, mindful of John Calvin's teaching that while we can think of and name many kinds of sins, there is really only one sin: Idolatry.  If we do not have God at the center of our lives, that place is not "empty", it is taken by something or someone less than God. 

We have seen it in sports as we have in so many other realms, business, politics, academics, the entertainment industry, yes, and in the church, where people put a person in the place where God ought to be--center stage, on a pedestal, as the be-all-and-end-all of their adulation.  We all could mention the names of those who have been celebrated for their gifts in any particular field to the point of idolatry.

I find that the Second Hevetic Confession is helpful here, in speaking of these higher forms of human endeavor (what we might call the arts and sciences, but what the confession calls the arts):

"UNDERSTANDING OF THE ARTS. For God in his mercy has permitted the powers of the intellect to remain, though differing greatly from what was in man before the fall. God commands us to cultivate our natural talents, and meanwhile adds both gifts and success. And it is obvious that we make no progress in all the arts without God’s blessing. In any case, Scripture refers all the arts to God; and, indeed, the heathen trace the origin of the arts to the gods who invented them."

Be careful who you worship.

As we turn away from the tragedy of Penn State, and look instead to the  triumphs of London, may we remember that any of the gifts we see on any field of play are not "self made" but God-given.  And thereby, keep those who do well in the proper perspective in our own estimation, as having been endowed by their Creator with these gifts, and not the source of them. 

My fellow alumni from PSU and all who live in Centre County might do well to keep that in mind, too.

Deuteronomy 31:8  Today, the LORD goes before you; do not fear or be dismayed. This is a Wekivaword.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tom Stahl's Noah's Ark Mural for Summer Funday School

Wekiva member Tom Stahl is leading a group of budding artist in creating a mural in the Link Building of the church. Above is a photo of the work in progress.  You can see a more detailed view below, with some very creative views of the building of the Ark as well as the Ark on the waters and then coming to rest on dry land. 

Above is Tom's conceptual sketch, pinned alongside the angel border he painted.  Below are several details up close, including the signatures of the artists who helped this past Sunday.  More painting will occur during the Sunday School hour, on the next several Sundays. 

I particularly love all of the signatures (don't you?).  And of course the one that makes me smile the most is "Noah".  Of course Noah made the mural of the Ark. After all, he made the Ark itself!  How fun is that?

One of the things we can teach one another in the company of believers called The Church is that we all have something to contribute to the well-being of the body.  Tom Stahl has been contributing his unerring design sense and artistic genius for us for decades--hallelujah!  And the painterly assistants who are making the mural with him are also learning and demonstrating that they have gifts to share, not some far off day in the future, but right now. 

It really is "Funday" when we come to Sunday School.
One of the best things we can teach the youngest among us is the joy of this truth: They can give something to God that will make God happy.

That is a life-long lesson to be savored.
You are invited… 

Wekiva Presbyterian Church welcomes The Rev. Dr. Daniel S. Williams, Central Florida Presbytery’s new Transitional Presbyter and Stated Clerk, next Sunday, August 5, 2012. 

Dr. Williams will be our guest preacher at both 8:30 and 11 a.m. worship. 

Wekiva Presbyterian Church has a long and happy relationship with our friends who serve us as leaders of Central Florida Presbytery.  Dr. Williams begins his work among us here in Central Florida on August 1st, so we will be the first of the congregations in central Florida presbytery to enjoy the opportunity to welcome him to his new calling and to hear him preach.   

Please plan to be here next Sunday to welcome Dr. Dan Williams!

The Atlantic - Early Morning

Most mornings we can see a beautiful sunrise, whether we are at home or away, if we are willing to get up and pay attention.  Here is a photo from this past week, that I made when I had gotten to the far end of the island.  The sun had just come up, no one else was around, just the sea birds and me.  I took a few photos of the sunrise which I may share as time goes on, but this one is the best, showing what the sunlight can do for a few waves and clouds.  As I say in the hymn I wrote for our retiring presbytery executive, when we waken in the morning, Jesus meets us there.

When We Waken in the Morning
A Hymn for The Rev. Dr. Paige M. McRight

Text: John A. Dalles, 2012; Suggested Familiar Tune: KELVINGROVE;

When we waken in the morning,
Jesus meets us there!
When we sing, the Lord adoring,
Jesus meets us there!
When we hear God’s sacred Word,
When we live all we have heard—
When we waken in the morning,
Jesus meets us there!

When throughout the day we gather,
Jesus meets us there!
When we do His work together,
Jesus meets us there!
When our workmanship is fine,
When it’s for the Lord of time—
When throughout the day we gather,
Jesus meets us there!

When we share Christ’s cup of blessing,
Jesus meets us there!
When our goal is praise unceasing,
Jesus meets us there!
When we offer heart and mind,
When our goal is good and kind—
When we share Christ’s cup of blessing,
Jesus meets us there!

Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Jesus meets us there!
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Jesus meets us there!
When we venture far or near,
It is Christ’s “Well done!” we’ll hear!
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Jesus meets us there!

Copyright © John A. Dalles, 2012.  Permission granted to Paige M. McRight.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 - Do not lose heart today. Look to the things that are unseen for they are the things that are eternal. This is a Wekivaword.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

1 Corinthians 10:13 - Today, God who is faithful, will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, so that you may endure. This is a Wekivaword.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Magnolia Blossom

Anyone who has lived in the South will tell you that the Magnolia Gradiflora is the region's favorite tree.  On a day like today, when the big dinner plate sized blossoms are open to the summer sun, surrounded by those glossy dark green leaves, one can understand why these trees engender so much affection from so many.  We are fortunate live in the natural range of this Magnolia species.


Photo by John A. Dalles at White Oak Orchids, Pacifica, California.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:17 – If you have stopped praying, start. If you have been praying, keep it up! This is a Wekivaword.

Psalm 50:15 – Call upon God if you are going through any time of trouble. This is a Wekivaword.

Matthew 21:22 – Have faith as you pray for what you need, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

JAMES 5:8 – Be patient, trusting God is working in you and through you for good. This is a Wekivaword.

ROMANS 15:13 – Be open to the joy God is bringing you, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

JAMES 3:16 – Set aside all jealousy and rivalry, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

PSALM 147:3 – Let God heal your hurts, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

PSALM 118:24 – Rejoice in this day that the Lord has made. This is a Wekivaword.

REVELATION 21:4 – Let God comfort you, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

PROVERBS 16:28 – Be done with any form of gossip, today and from now on. This is a Wekivaword.

Jeremiah 29:1 1 – Trust and entrust your future to God, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

COLOSSIANS 3:15 – Let Christ’s peace control you, today and every day. This is a Wekivaword.

PSALM 37:23-24 – God is holding your hand, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

PHIL.2:14-15 – Do everything without complaining, today. This is a Wekivaword.

PROVERBS 12:25 – Speak encouraging words, today. This is a Wekivaword.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Today, be strong and courageous. God is with you and will not forsake you. This is a Wekivaword.

Isaiah 41:10 Today, do not fear, God is with you and will strengthen you. This is a Wekivaword.

Zephaniah 3:17 Today, God will rejoice over you with gladness; and quiet you by His love. This is a Wekivaword.
Job 22:27 – Pray trusting that God is listening to you, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Light Up the Skies!

Psalm 86:7 – Give God your problems, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Matthew 11:28 – May God provide you a time of rest and renewal, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Red Shouldered Hawk in our Front Yard

There he is, at the top of that bare branch.  Blending in well, but he was busy preening and screeching, so making his presence known.  Anne saw him on her way out the door and then let me know he was there.  Technically, the tree is just across the street, but these photos were taken from our front porch.

Birdhouses by JAD and AED

Anne and I painted these birdhouses this weekend and I installed them on the poles yesterday.  They are adding a festive note to the yard.  Whether feathered friends move in, remains to be seen!

Psalm 103:2-3 – May God bless you with healing and wholeness, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Psalm 30:5 – May God comfort you amid any sorrow, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Yesterday Was Yard Work

Yesterday was yard work.  After the several weeks of rains from Tropical Storm Debby, the yard is very green and there was work to be done in the way of trimming shrubs and spreading mulch.  I started out with trimming a Sabal Palm that had grown from seed at the far end of the pool.  We are glad it did, but decided it was now tall enough that we could trim the lower branches.  This makes the far corner of the back yard visible for the first time in several years.  Back there, we have a kind of fernery under the shady overarching branches.

The yard in summer is colorful, although the bougainvillea is in a bit of a subdued stage this week.

The blue of the plumbago is a nice compliment to the blue of the pool and the Florida sky.

I like the way that the philodendron in the "secret garden" has grown large enough to spread over the top of a six foot high fence (above) and cast interesting shadows upon it.  As I  have said in earlier posts, the crepe myrtle is blooming exceptionally well this year, which is very clear in the photos below.

The remaining photos were taken last evening around 8 p.m., as twilight was lingering.  Yes, you do see two pink flamingos in the shrubs.  We have a long tradition of pink flamingos popping up in our lives, and these two jaunty characters seem to have found a roost among the plumbago.

Below you can see that the nearly full moon was out just overhead.

Twilight makes very nice reflections in the pool.

The flamingos and the plumbagos seem to be made for each other.

Below, the yard from the deep end of the pool.