Summer Sweet

  The onset of August spells a couple of very sweet summer offerings:  The crickets begin to sing in morning and in evening, and (at least in my backyard) the blossoming of orange berries on a bush of lovely vintage.  Minor players these may be; nevertheless, but sweet touches to be appreciated, like secondary, “character” actors in the old films and on the British stage and television. 

(August can also be characterized by the old adage of the “dog days,” but I would rather not go there, as the very thought of it makes me profusely sweat!)

Summer’s End

Summer’s End

The arrival of autumn spells refreshment for the likes of me, for whom the “dog-days” of the entire summer, let alone merely of August, are simply untenable to my fragile existence.  I welcome the refreshingly more temperate, even at times chilly, temperatures, the vibrant colors, the coziness of shortened days and the scent of forthcoming holidays.

Autumnal refreshment is rivaled only by the spiritual refreshment of God.  It is unequalled by any human or natural parallel.

Christians are a refreshed people:  Repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19, 20).

Home Is Where the Heart Abides

I love my home and life in Conshohocken, just fifteen minutes removed from Center City Philadelphia.  I have been here for over 24 years.  I joke with my congregation that I will, if ever called elsewhere, make the place and people famous by way of sermon fodder.

They laugh knowingly, because I have drawn upon my first 27 years of existence in Boston, a locale that I have dearly loved.  I always considered that God had richly blessed me in a myriad of ways in what has been affectionately called the “hub of the universe.”

Nurturing Nests

The hand that rocks the cradle shapes the nation is an old adage that is strikingly true.  Those who provide our nurture are preparing for the future, whether of a home or of a community or of a nation.  Our fragile natures require a proper nurture and a safe nest.    

Radio-host Dennis Prager recently listed the half-time shows of every Super Bowl since its inception in 1967.  Almost every one of them entailed a collegiate marching band well into the late-1980s … But then everything changed.

Les Miserables

Les Miserables    

You simply must see the film-version of the musical sensation, Les Miserables.  It is a magnificent rendering of a magnificent musical that is based upon a magnificent novel by 19th Century French writer Victor Hugo.  The film does Hugo proud.    

I have watched and enjoyed the 1935 Hollywood production, featuring Frederic March and Charles Laughton.  I am conversant, too with the 1952 film version starring Michael Rennie and Robert Newton, as well as the 1992 production with Liam Neeson.

[There were also two other film versions:  A French production in 1960 and a 1978 television movie made by CBS, but I can’t comment, not having seen them; they were, no doubt, faithful and responsible adaptations].    

Bestriding Beauty

God called me when I was three-and-one-half years of age.  I didn’t really understand what that meant until I turned fourteen, at which point the nature of my calling was made stunningly clear when Jesus Christ was revealed to me in the privacy of my bedroom.

I am now thirty-seven years’ removed from that blessed encounter, having served over twenty-four of those years as an ordained minister of the Gospel.  I am more convinced than ever that the Gospel is the answer to our human predicament.

Welsh Wonders

It’s a wonderful thing when one can report of bearing witness to God’s saving hand on any given day and amidst any given occasion, but to have front-row seats to His wonders on a nine-day run is reason for boasting!  The Scripture says, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31), so do allow me this biblical indulgence, if you please.

God provided me with the means and the open schedule in order to travel to visit with a man who has been like a brother to me and who is very ill.  My schedule has not been so accommodating for some time, but my benefactors have always been so beneficent!

Trusting the Trustworthy

Trusting the Trustworthy

The traumatic events that played out in Boston over the last several days have brought forth both the vulnerability and the fortitude of Americans.  I should think that World War II Londoners who survived the Blitz would readily identify.

It is a different kind of war, though, albeit accompanied by the same effects, from sheer psychological terror to the killed, maimed and wounded.  The root cause remains the same:  We live in a fallen world, replete with fallen people, even those who mean well.

Waiting upon God

It’s one of the hardest things to do.  It runs against the grain of our nature, especially of those of us who live in the era of instant gratification.  We just don’t want to wait, but wait for God we must, if we are to know His blessing.

Modern Americans are not experienced in waiting; it’s as if we aren’t adequately equipped, as so much has come to us rather quickly.  More comes to us more readily, and earlier; too early and too readily, it can be argued.

Recently-deceased songwriter Marvin Hamlisch was 33 when he won the Oscar for “The Way We Were; years later he remarked that he won it too young, as there was little for which to strive or after which to aspire – Perhaps, even to hope.

Wintry Wanderings and Wonderings

   I write amidst an Arctic chill laced with a shallow and fluffy snow, the first falling of any significance, and a trifle at that; still, the treachery of potential icing on the roads isn’t diminished by the promise of milder air just a few days hence – It is, after all, winter!

I am an aberrant to the norm:  I love the arctic air, loathe the more mild climes that make forays into the dead of winter, and actually find comfort in the arms of old man winter.  I was never constructed for so-called “fun-in-the-sun”; I would feel naked and vulnerable.

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