Tag Archives: creation

Guess where this Photo was taken

I’d like to know if you can tell where this header (orange sky-scape) photo was taken.

First to guess it right gets a treat.
Good luck.

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Sunday Meditation – Thanksgiving

Pa. 1942 Thanksgiving (creative commons)

Book of Common Prayer
A Litany of Thanksgiving
836    Thanksgivings


Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so
freely bestowed upon us.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and
sky and sea.
We thank you, Lord.

For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women,
revealing the image of Christ,
We thank you, Lord.

For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and
our friends,
We thank you, Lord.

For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.

For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering
and faithful in adversity,
We thank you, Lord.

For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice,
We thank you, Lord.

For the communion of saints, in all times and places,
We thank you, Lord.

Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and
promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord;
To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the
Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

See also The General Thanksgiving on pages 58 and 101.
From the Book of Common Prayer online: here.

Living in a Postcard

I live in Cressona, a dinky little town known for tractor trailers getting stuck under the 11′ 8″ train overpass.

Courtesy of Cressona Fire Dept No. 1 (click for more)

But, just a few roads away are some of the most spectacular landscapes you can imagine.

Each season has its own beauty, and spring and fall are the most colorful. Here are a few photos from my latest bike ride.

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This chapter comes to mind:

Psalm 150 (NIV)

1 Praise the LORD. [a]
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.

2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,

4 praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,

5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

Strikingly Awesome-tallest tree photo EVER

The ingenuity for taking this this photo is pretty unbelievable.

Three cameras, and a composite of the tallest tree photo ever.

300 feet. 1,500 year old California redwood.

Be amazed. As you scroll down, watch for the people stationed in the tree.

(Full article here)

 

300 foot tree captured on film!
300 foot tree captured on film!

Tell me what you think!

 

My Top 5 Reasons/signs you may be burned out on church

1. You find yourself thinking up illnesses that would suffice for excuses for staying home. Sometimes you even invent names like Snufflititus or Schnozatigo: The serious redness and inflammation of the area beneath the nose from too much tissue rubbing. Rx Coffee, remote control, rest, snacks, and tissues with lotion built-in.

2. You suddenly realize how cool, smart, and savvy the early Sunday morning tv shows are, and feel like you might be getting a raw deal but missing them.

3. You feel deeply offended that your church doesn’t care too much that the coffee offered tastes something like armpit, and you start to identify this characteristic with an inherent spiritual problem of your congregation. (perhaps the misusing of the gift of hospitality) 

4. You start to pick apart the pastor’s sermon with a graph, and two columns of hatch marks on your church bulletin, adding up the times he is substituting a self-aggrandizing story instead of using a true parable to teach a point.

5. You find getting tapped for nursery duty a welcomed relief, because you won’t really have to talk to anybody, watch a worship performance you won’t enjoy, or try to not yawn an ungodly amount of times as you try to get through a sermon the pastor must have downloaded from somewhere late Saturday night.

Okay, this was a purposefully whacky list. If you can relate to any of these internal excuses, signs, or avoidance qualities, in some sort of way, then maybe the experience of attending church has grown stale.

It’s normal to have spiritual slumps. It can’t be wise to think of walking with God as a continual emotional high, and when it’s not experienced as such, something is horribly wrong. Like any journey, there will be hills and valleys. Faithfulness demonstrated as a choice done continually, (rather than a feeling-based action) can really see us through times like this. God is always with us, whether we “feel” him or not.

However, I’ll make a different point. There is also a tendency to fall into a consumer mindset, and feel like church-going is like shopping, and picking out something you like. We probably all do it, to an extent. Have you ever walked out of the service on Sunday thinking, “That wasn’t really what I was hoping for,”? Yep. Unmet expectations are common. But, it doesn’t have to wreck the whole bit of it.

Church doesn’t have to delight us every time, and soothe us. Most times it won’t feed us, not in the deep ways we crave. Those times are often found in community that can plumb to greater depths, and do the harder work, but build the stronger bonds that make genuine growth possible. (Think small groups, or spiritual directors, spiritual mentors, and discipleship situations.)

Church isn’t just some way to get recharged for your week, and be poured into. But, have you noticed how easy it is to slip into that bare minimum, and consumerist outlook of it? I have. I’ve been guilty of it way too much.

It’s not about just an experience, nor is it just meant for worshiping God with others. We worship God all the time, whether we do it poorly and unawares, or we tune in and give him our whole selves. We are his creation, our lives lived are a form of worship, like it or not.

Church-going, and the whole of the spiritual walk, are about applying the gospel to our lives in every circumstance and situation, the whole way through. God’s grace and love came down. He draws us to him. He restores. It seems we co-opt and yield to his mighty, gracious work to changing us radically, to be more like him.

Sometimes it just comes down to sucking it up. Sometimes it means you have to change, not your local church.

Have you ever been burned out on church, like I have, at one time or another? What helped you?

Leave any kinds of comments you’d like.

God’s goldfinch

Maybe my eyes view the world differently than many people. I’m artistic, passionate, visual, creative, curious, perpetually pondering, and spiritually-geared. But, that’s not the only reason. It’s been my journey, and more so recently, to radically shift the paradigm of my perception of reality to comprehend and appreciate that ultimate reality is Reality. That is, reality is really the Creator, the Supreme Being, (some call God, Yahweh, or Trinity, etc.)

Really, this means I count experiences as spiritual many might consider ordinary, and I end up have many extra-ordinary experiences as a result, by anybody’s standards. For me, and often others I share them with, they are not just poignant, but deeply engaging, and also powerful interactions with Spirit God, the Lover of my soul.

Today, I encountered a baby bird, and we reckoned each other, and I was able to hold him, and connect with him as God’s beautiful creature, and a precious blessing. He was not afraid, and fell asleep in my palm. The love I showered to him that was overflowing in me, he gave back, in his creaturely way. I give a few details of the encounter at my personal blog

It’s amazing what happens when we awaken to all that is spiritual. God is all around, and filling his world abundantly.

Thank you for visiting.

Feel free to leave your comments…