Thursday, February 28, 2013

This Sunday is "Gifts of Women" Sunday, when our Presbyterian Women's organization presents the worship service.

This is a tradition dating back to 1997 when Emma Jean Nelson was PW President. I was new to Wekiva and together we inaugurated the idea, from the idea, Emma Jean and the PW planned the morning to highlight gifts of women here and throughout the Presbyterian Church (USA). Down the years the purpose has not changed but we have been blessed by many outstanding women ministers who have come to inspire us by their preaching.

This Sunday we continue this fine tradition with our special guest, The Rev. Cara Gee, who is from Westminster-by-the-Sea Presbyterian Church in Daytona Beach Shores. Cara is from "the north" (which is not a difficult feat when you are in Florida--most everything is north of here in the USA!). She lives in Daytona with her husband and two beloved dogs and a bunny. Cara enjoys reading and knitting when she is not preaching and pastoring.

Share this with your family and friends and invte them to worship. Remember what Andrew did, and do likewise!!!
I Kings 19:12 – Maybe you have been expecting God to speak to you in a loud and showy way, with earthquakes and storms and fire, when all along, God has been whispering to you. Now, listen! This is a Wekivaword.

Friday, February 22, 2013

So Much For Silent Cal

On this day in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge was the first U S President to deliver a radio address from the White House.

President Coolidge is often nicknamed "Silent Cal" because he was somewhat reticent about being long winded. Many people could learn a lot from him.

There is the old story of Dorothy Parker, that wit of the Algonquin Round Table, who knew she was to be seated next to the President at a formal dinner. When she was, she turned to him and said, "Mr. President, I bet my friend that I could get you to say more than two words to me at dinner!" He smiled and said, "You lose." And that was all.

What fun!

As far as having good things to say, however, you will be hard pressed to find a body of work by any US President's writings and speeches of as fine a quality as Coolidge's. Look some of them up and you will see what I mean. To this day they are filled with insight and wisdom.

President Coolidge was also fond of all kinds of unusual hats. From that alone, we know that there was a good sense of humor behind the sometimes silent exterior.

Coolidge was a good churchman, and a Congregationalist - the denomination that is now the UCC or United Church of Christ and traces some of its roots back to the Pilgrims.

Isaiah 11:3-4: People may judge by what we see. God looks upon the heart, and God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). When God looks at you, today, God looks upon your heart in all its ranges, knowing you more deeply than you know yourself. Show Him your love and faithfulness. This is a Wekivaword.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Look! Up in the Air! It's a Presbyterian!

Today is February 20…

On this day in 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth, making three orbits in 4 hours, 55 minutes, in his space capsule, the Friendship 7.

John Glenn was born in Cambridge, Ohio, was raised in New Concord, Ohio, studied science at Muskingum College, and received his private pilot's license for physics course credit in 1941. Glenn served in WWII, the Korean War and as a test pilot.

In April 1959, he was assigned to NASA as one of the original group of seven astronauts chosen for Project Mercury. During this time, he remained an officer in the United States Marine Corps.

The world watched as he took his historic flight 51 years ago today, glued to grainy black and white TV sets.

Glenn rode the Space Shuttle in 1998. I was there, and saw it take off. A

s you should know, Glenn is descended from the Glenn–Macintosh clan of Scotland.and is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church.
Matthew 8:5-13: God’s message to you, via Jesus, says this, “This is my beloved Son; listen to Him. He has come to meet you, where you are, right here, right now. I hope you enjoy Him; as I hope for everyone who receives Him. For you are a remarkable person. Sincerely, God.” This is a Wekivaword.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Psalm 36:6 – Let us never forget that God made and loves the animals of the world. Sometimes they do their best to remind us of that, with a cheery birdsong or the wag of a furry tale. May we never be too busy to notice or give God thanks. This is a Wekivaword.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Daniel 3:24 Remember that God is with you in those desperate and fiery places and seeks to walk with you and keep you from harm. Wekivaword.

Bringing in the Sheaves...

Today is February 15…

Cyrus McCormick was born on this day in 1809, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He perfected the reaper, which revolutionized farm methods. The idea for the reaper came from another Mc… a man named McPhetrich. Cyrus’ father bought the plans for that and then by 1834, Cyrus had perfected and patented his version of the design.

He and his brother Leyland moved to Chicago and there they founded the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company (now part of International Harvester). William H Seward said of McCormick's invention that owing to it, "the line of civilization moves westward thirty miles each year."

Cyrus was quite the benefactor and one of our own PCUSA seminaries, McCormick T S in Chicago, bears his name.

(A different reaper, The Grim Reaper would appear for Cyrus in 1884)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mr. President, Watch the Birdie!

Today is February 14…

Yes, Valentine’s Day, and I will celebrate it today, but I am not going to talk about it here…

On this day in 1849 US President James K Polk did something remarkable. He was the first US President to have his photograph taken while serving in office.

In our digital age, when most people see more photo and video images in a day than pre 1800 people saw in a lifetime, it seems odd, doesn’t it, to be able to pinpoint down to the very day, the very first time a US President had his photo made while serving in office.

The photo was made in New York City.

President Polk was not the first President to be photographed - William Henry Harrison got to that before him, but not during his one month long presidency. The photo happened before that.

Polk was a highly sought after subject for early photographers when portrait photography was really coming into its own. He probably liked the time saving feature that photograph had when compared with sitting long hours for a portrait painting.

Several very important "photographic firsts" occurred while Polk was President: the first photograph of a President with his cabinet, the first interior photograph of the White House (one and the same photo, taken by John Plumbe in the State Dining Room – one is tempted to add “with the led pipe and Colonel Mustard”), and the first exterior photographs of the White House.

These treasures are in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

If you go, say "Cheese!"
Read Romans 15:25-27 Live in the attitude of this blessing and benediction today. This is a Wekivaword.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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

Praise with Elation

Today is February 13...

On this day in 1881, Eleanor Farjeon was born.

You may not recall her name, but you probably have memorized one of her poems. Truly. It is the particular poem that begins, "Morning Has Broken..."

Born in London, Farjeon was was an English author of children's stories and plays, poetry, biography, history and satire. She lived much of her life among the sophisticated literary and theatrical circles of London; and yet, much of Eleanor's inspiration came from her childhood and from family holidays.

Her best remembered work is the hymn which always ranks among Wekiva Presbyterian's "top ten". It was written in 1931 and set to an old Gaelic tune named BUNESSAN for the Scottish village with which it is associated.

Eleanor also wrote the familiar Advent carol "People, Look East!".

Friday, February 8, 2013

I Cor 15:33-34 Take a good look at the company you keep, today. If the people you are with spend most of their talk and time being negative, then it is time to make some new friends. This is a Wekivaword.

R S V P If You Please

Today is February 8th...

On this day in 1946, the first portion of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible was published.  It was quite the news, and the first real update of the King James Version of the Bible.  I was not around yet (nor would be for many a year) but I do know that it was well received from the start and soon became the new Standard for reading Scripture, whether in public worship or private devotions.

We have a plethora of other newer translations and paraphrases now, and it would be something of a challenge for you to get a new Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Because, in fact, the RSV as we call it, was again updated in the 1980s and became the New Revised Standard Version, which is, as the name suggests, a scholarly accurate revision of the scholarly accurate revision of the King James Version.  If you open and read the three side by side you can see how closely related they are, sort of like members of  your own family tree.

I am sometimes asked by church members or friends which version of the Bible I recommend. Without question I recommend the New Revised Standard Version, which takes the study of the ancient texts with so much seriousness and insight that it would be very difficult indeed to find any other good translation that comes close.  In fact, the NRSV is the translation in our pews, as it should be, and in the pews of most of our sister congregations in our denomination and many other denominations.

Often I am asked why one cannot easily find the NRSV on the shelves of the local religious bookstore chains.  The answer is simple.  As wonderful as the various bookstore chains are, they are all owned by or closely affiliated with particular publishing houses, none of which are the copyright holders of (you guessed it) the NRSV.  But they are copyright holders of different translations or paraphrases and they feature them front and center in all of their book displays. 

It is similar to the reason why you cannot find competing pop (or soda) at fast food chains that are owned by...surprise!...this or that maker of fizzy soft drinks.

When you read your Bible today, if it is from the majestic poetry of the 1606 King James, enjoy!  It is like reading Shakespeare.  Or if you are reading the RSV, think: "Today is RSV Day!"  If you are reading from the NRSV, well and good, it is like reading from the RSV's offspring.  

And if you are reading from some other translation or paraphrase, keep in mind that they all owe much to the wisdom of those who did the work for the RSV in 1946 and thereabout.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

John 14:27: The peace of Jesus is a gift. You have to be open to it to receive it. The peace of Jesus comes by a word—His word. The peace of Jesus is peace of mind, of heart, both inward and outward. The peace of Jesus is for you to have and to share to share, with the world. This is a Wekivaword.

I'll Trade You Baltic Avenue...

Today is February 7th...

If I said that today is a day when you take a ride on the Reading Railroad, that there are hotels going up on Boardwalk and Park Place and that if you happen upon the jail make sure that you are just visiting, I think you will understand that it has something to do with the game of Monopoly.

Yes indeed.

On this day in 1935, the classic board game was invented. At least that is the way one of the stories go.  It was based on a "Landlord" game that can be traced to 1903.  You can read all about it elsehwere.

The game has to do with buying, trading and developing property, and is the patron game of all realtors and landlords. One goes round the board, hoping to pass go and collect $200, as a canon or race car or Scottie dog, or other. In the old days there were wooden houses and hotels to be bought and built. Now, they are plastic.

I was first taught to play Monopoly by my uncle who was an ordained minister and a sharp Monopoly player who was very hard to beat.

Monopoly is fun, but it can also be stressful. One New Years soon after I graduated from Penn State, some of my PSU friends and I played the game, and there was one particular player who “never loses” at Monopoly, but managed to do so that evening. I guess you could say she dropped the ball that New Year’s Eve!

Well, if by “chance” you are thinking of what to do this evening or next, why not have a games night?

Just save Marvin Gardens for me!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Matthew 28:18. Here is a message of tremendous assurance. Think of the things that you feel powerless over. Disease. Disappointment. Doubt. Death. Jesus is more powerful than all of them. Make Christ the Lord over all of your life. Even those dark places. Let Him do for you what He can: bringing wholeness and hope. This is a Wekivaword.

Come Out From Under That Desk...!

Today is February 6...

On this day in 1959 – just a short drive from here, over at Cape Canaveral, Florida, the first successful test firing of a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile was accomplished. Some of you may have been there.  I could have been (technically speaking) but I was not.  I was in Cheswick PA and if I am not mistaken, was at that time not yet old enough to go to kindergarten.  But what happened in Florida on that day connects with one of my early elementary school memories, which I think were called air raid drills. 

The theory, back in those days of the Cold War, was that if children climbed under their desks (you know those stoutly built bits of plastic and aluminium) and held their clasped little hands over the backs of their necks, that they would be prepared for whatever attack might be hurling in their direction from a forigen power (AKA the U.S.S.R.).

Doesn't it make you feel safe thinking of it?

We seemed to do these drills with some regularity, dutiful youngsters that we were.  I cannot remember when they stopped, but perhaps it was when our family moved to San Diego and the rules for those schools were different than back in Allegheny County. 

Fire drills, yes.  Air raid drills, no longer.

The idea of being prepared for this or that disaster is not a bad one.  We make hurricane kits every year here in Florida, for instance.  And I suppose that if some sort of missile had struck, say Uniontown or New Castle, but not immediately overhead, the protection a child's school desk provided might have been better than nothing.

Still and all, it always felt strange, doing those drills.  And it always felt ever so much better to come out from under the desk and get back to learning.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pips But No Gladys Knight...

Today is February 5...

On this day in 1924, The Royal Greenwich Observatory began broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the "BBC Pips".

The BBC Pips are helpful but not nearly as musical as the later Pips who became famous singing with Gladys Knight. I mean nothing from Greenwich can compare with "Midnight Train to Georgia".

Someone, in or around 1924, thought that it would be a good idea to know what time is was. In fact, to know exactly, precisely, and without question, rather than a "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" approach, what time it was.

I have noticed, and perhaps you have as well, that some people are more GMT and some people are more in the school of Albert Einstein when it comes to time. In other words, for some people "Pip, pip! Johnny on the spot!" is their watchword. They believe that punctuality is the pride of princes.

Others, however, think of time as relative. if you say you are going to do such and such at this or that time, you can expect them to show up...whenever they please. They do not much care what the pips are saying, and let the pips fall were they may. As it were.

I suppose you could say that both approaches have their merit.

If you care about others, you will fall into the first category, and will work hard to be on time. No, I have that slightly wrong. One of the best commentators on time says this, and you will know who she is if you have been in the Lake Brantley Marching Patriots:

"To be on time is to be late!"

So true!
JOB 22:27 – Pray trusting that God is listening to you, this day. This is a Wekivaword.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Psalm 86:7 – Give God your problems, this day. This is a Wekivaword.
Today is February 4...

On this day in 2004, Facebook, a mainstream online social networking site, was founded by Mark Zuckerberg.

If you are one of the many Facebook users, you might want to give "Facebook Day" a shout out. I am told that it is the number one way of indirect communication these days.

Direct communication (that would be in person) is still the most popular way of people being in touch with one another--but who knows how long that will be the case? It is a question worth pondering.

Today, after you have checked your Facebook, why not try checking the time tested way of relating to others.

Face to face.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

John 14:27: The peace of Jesus is a gift. You have to be open to it to receive it. The peace of Jesus comes by a word—His word. The peace of Jesus is peace of mind, of heart, both inward and outward. The peace of Jesus is for you to have and to share to share, with the world. This is a Wekivaword.

Friday, February 1, 2013

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

Who and What WOULD You Want With You?

How does that question go?

Oh yes, I remember...

"If you were stranded on a desert island..."

And then it is followed up by something like this:

...what book would you want with you?

(Yes, I know, the right answer is "Practical Boat Building").


Who would you want with you?

It makes for an interesting dinner conversation if you are tired about gossiping about the neighbors--or talking about the weather and everyone's health like Eliza Dolittle and Professor Higgins.

I bring it up because on this day in 1709 (Watch it!  I can see you wondering if I was there!) Alexander Selkirk no longer had to wish and wonder about the answer to that hypothetical for us but real for him question, "If you were stranded on a desert island..."  Because on that date, he was rescued from being stranded for four years on a desert island.  Truly he was.  In point of fact, Alexander Selkirk's real life story inspired a man named Daniel Defoe to write a novel base on Selkirk's adventures and call the hero "Robinson Crusoe".

Alexander Selkirk, as his name might suggest to you, was a Scot who was born in 1676 (a hundred years before the Declaration of Independence) and who asked to be set down on one of the Juan Fernandez islands off the coast of Chile, since he thought that the ship he was serving on was not seaworthy.  The captain, perhaps wanting to teach Selkirk some kind of a lesson, agreed and deposited Alexander on the uninhabited island's sands with his seaman's trunk and the clothes he stood in and off the ship sailed only to sink, with only the captain and 12 others surviving, and they, ending up as prisoners of Spain.  I guess the professor and Mary Anne missed that tour.

Meanwhile, back on the island, shellfish was often on the menu.  His noisy neighbors were so loud they drove him inland (sea lions who packed the beach like Saturday at Coney Island).  Inland, things took a turn for the better with feral goats for milk and meat, wild turnips and cabbage.  Wild rats bothered him until he domesticated some feral cats--clever man that he was!

He also read from...the Bible.  Frequently.  It brought him comfort and encouragement.  As it would any person who gave it the proper time and attention.

Selkirk was rescued on this day in 1709, but did not get home till 1711 and continued to live a life at sea after his own account of his adventure were published.  He in fact died at sea, succumbing to yellow fever off the coast of Africa.

Selkirk lived out his four years on the island with a measure of grace. In fact, his story reminds me of the Selkirk Grace, written, not by Alexander Selkirk, but by his countryman, Robert Burns:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.