Yuletide Yearnings

    Irving Berlin wrote the classic Christmas song, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”  Everyone knows it.  Everyone loves it.  Everyone sings it, though whether they admit to the latter is another story!

Did you know that Berlin wrote it while relaxing by a pool in southern California with a temperature of 84 degrees?  Yep!  He was reminiscing nostalgically for the snow-laden Siberia of his youth.  I hope a revelation like this doesn’t damage the song for you! 

Yearnings are universal, especially amidst hardship; otherwise, such longings parley into a more morally-ambiguous ambition.  They speak to something innocent and especially pleasing to the heart; too often, it is for something lost or no longer to be had.

Summer Sensationalism

   I haven’t been idle since I last contributed to Meditations & Meanderings; far from it, as a matter of fact.  My time has been occupied by a bevy of house-guests, a major death in our church, several ordination candidates, etc.

I have also thrice-borne witness to the devastation of New York, via The Avengers, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises (a.k.a., Gotham) and The Amazing Spiderman.  And we thought that the humidity here in Philadelphia was brutal! 

I am an old comic book fan from the ‘60s and ‘70s; back then, we couldn’t even have dreamt of such visual extravaganzas as that to which we are now being treated.  I waited forty years for an Avengers film and I can only say that it was well worth the wait!

Definitional Diagnostics

     What is it that defines your life?  Our grandparents were the product of the Great Depression.  Our parents were raised amidst the 2nd World War.  Their children, namely my generation, were the beneficiaries of the post-World War II boom.

Our grandparents were renowned for saving money, as they well-understood that a day might return when money would be hard to come by.  They remained thrifty for the length of their days. 

Our parents triumphed over the Nazism and Communism; it was not much of a stretch to think that they could provide a better living for their children.  There lives were invested in accordance with the impulse to triumph, not merely to endure. 

Paternal Perambulations


    You will pardon the rather forced attempt at alliteration in the title of this reflection.  The Shorter Oxford Dictionary offers this definition of “perambulation:”

“The action or the act of perambulating; a walk; a survey on foot …The action or ceremony of walking officially round a parish, forest, etc. for the purpose of asserting and recording its boundaries and preserving the rights of possession:  beating the bounds.”

Father’s Day is prompting me to take a stroll and to take stock of how richly blessed I was to have had the father that I did.  I am also being stoked into a deliberation as to the need of godly men to provide fatherly or father-like deportment to those around us.

Our Glorious Witness

    Our Glorious Witness

Memorial Day honors our soldiers who gave their lives in the cause of liberty.  Every flag that flutters skyward speaks a powerful witness to the American Experiment that was conceived in idealized propositions but grounded in the blood of its practitioners.

I was raised in the shadow of World War II.  My uncles served in the various theaters of combat around the globe.  I listened to their stories and grew proud as I grew up.  They were living testaments to the American determination to protect and to spread liberty.

Muscular Christianity

     The title sounds a bit jingoistic; doesn’t it?  I mean, the last thing that we or the world needs is another act of religious aggressiveness.  Surely we don’t want another round of the Crusades!  Certainly we have gotten beyond such travesties of body and spirit.

Be assured:  This is decidedly not what is meant by the title.  The “muscular” Christianity to which the following thoughts will be directed is in directly inverse proportion to the other, more-worldly, more-destructive enterprise.  Thank God!

Maternal Musings

     Our gracious God has given to the world our beloved Savior and our beautiful mothers; all else is either dross or, if lovely, derivative of the One or the other.  It is an assertion devoutly to be proposed, devoutly to be considered and ardently to be embraced. 

God blessed me with an exquisitely beautiful mother.  I loved her dearly, and always knew implicitly and explicitly how dearly she loved me.  How blessed I was!  The hand that rocked my cradle was as lovely as was ever made.

I wish to live my life in such a way that would in no way dishonor to her; more positively, I wish to conduct myself in such a way that proves worthy of her.  God’s Word tells me to honor her, an instruction by no means difficult to fulfill.

He Blesses the Small and Great Alike

  Americans have this notion that things have to be bigger in order to be better.  One can hypothesize as to why this is; let it suffice here to say that it simply is.  We like bigger cars, grander homes, larger companies - that is, if you own one; not if you don’t!

This conceptual vein has begun to play out within evangelical Christianity.  The advent and rise of the so-called mega-church carries with it the implicit assumption that such churches are inherently blessed by God, their expanse being indicative of divine favor.

Wisps of Wisdom

I asked God for it in 1975.  I was a troubled youth, very much in need of several commodities, one of which was wisdom.  I knew that wisdom would be the means by which I would transcend, or at least manage, my problems.

The Bible is quite specific in its promise of such provision:  “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

I am not even sure that I was aware of that particular verse at the time, but I was certain that I could trust my God and that He would provide.  He did and over time I was given the wisdom to reckon with the things that beset me.

Of Palms, Pageants and Parallels

  I ordered three crown of palms for Palm Sunday service.  That’s 75 palms for anyone who’s counting.  We always have a handful left over, but that’s alright, especially as someone is always looking for extra.  It’s a sweet tradition, no more and no less.

Sweetness had nothing to do with the original Palm Sunday, if we may so describe it; truthfully, we don’t even know whether it took place on a Sunday, but it’s as good a day as any to offer annual commemoration, especially as so many gather weekly for God’s purpose. 

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