Picture of the Week

Wagamon Pond Dam, Milton, DE

This week’s prompt was curves. I played with a bunch of pictures, but like this one the best. There are quite a few of these curved dam structures here in lower Delaware. The one in Milton is very accessible. With most of these dams, the water above the dam is freshwater and the water below is backwater from either the Delaware Bay or Atlantic Ocean.

Triumph of the Holy Cross

Holy Cross | September 14, 2021

Numbers 21:4b-9 and Psalm 98:1-5 • 1 Corinthians 1:18-24 • John 3:13-17

John 3:13-17 | New Living Translation

13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Today is a day known in differing ways, however, I like the title Triumph of the Holy Cross. Typically we focus on the cross during Lent and we focus on the crucifixion. However this day focuses on the cross as an instrument of salvation.

That thought is picked up in our Gospel reading for today. John compares the pole that was lifted up in the wilderness to save the Hebrew people from their sin. If you don’t remember the story. The Hebrews were grumbling in the wilderness. To punish the people, God sent fiery serpents and people started dying. God gave a solution to Moses to fashion a snake on a pole – those who looked at the pole would be healed.

That pole that Moses fashioned looks very similar to the image to the right which is used in the medical field. It is called a Caduceus.

John records Jesus as saying that the cross will be a symbol and when look at the symbol of the cross, they will see it as a symbol of salvation. The cross itself cannot save humans, but Jesus himself who hung on the cross can save us. Today the cross reminds us of the sacrifice of Jesus. It reminds us of God’s love. I’ve written before that I wear a cross on occasion. It’s not that the cross that I wear can save me, but that Jesus, through His love and sacrifice on the cross is the only way to salvation. It was through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection that we can have eternal life – just as Jesus promised. After all, Jesus came into the world not to judge us but to save us. That’s why we can call it the Triumph of the Cross.


Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the Cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory
everlasting. Amen.

Music Monday | Not Afraid Pt. 1

Summer winds on sinking sands
A bitter rain upon my hands
Dreading every waking day
Reason came and reason left
The scarlet stain did not forget
What I could not explain away

With no pennies on my eyes
Fear had its ice-cold grip upon my life

But I’m not afraid any more
Yeah, I think I finally opened up the door
No, I’m not afraid any more
And I’m ready to reach out for something more

Tried and true, black or blue
I used to think, “Man, what’s the use?”
When everything turns bad in the end
You play your cards and try to be
The changing world you’d like to see
But people will let you down, my friend

The sky grew dim the curtains flew
Then a light came and I saw the truth

And I’m not afraid any more
Yeah, I think I finally opened up the door
No, I’m not afraid any more
And I’m ready to reach out for something more
I’m ready to reach out for something more

I’m not afraid of dying
And I’m not afraid of crying
I can’t wait to go on living
I’m gonna give it all I got
‘Cause the lens of life will linger
Just keep singing for the singer
And the song will never end
I’m gonna take it from the top

‘Cause I’m not afraid any more
And I think I finally opened up the door
Yeah, I’m not afraid any more
And I’m ready to reach out for something more

No, I’m not afraid any more
And I think I finally opened up the door
No, I’m not afraid any more
And I’m ready to reach out for something more

Sunday Thoughts

Welcome to Sunday Thoughts for September 12, 2021.

We had a little taste of fall this past week. We did get a nice break from the summer heat and humidity this week. Yet this week we return to some of that. Even today it was getting warmer. It’s been a great week.

Earlier this week, I attended the Millsboro Town Council meeting. It was interesting to see some of the ins and outs of the town workings. It was the first week since I have been here that I had something three nights in a row. Wednesday night we had prayer meeting and then on Thursday we had board meeting. We had a great meeting and there is such a spirit of cooperation.

On Friday morning, we decided we wanted to go to Rehoboth Beach and watch the sunrise.

The wave action was cool as Hurricane Larry was sitting off the coast. We stopped at Chick-fil-A on the way home for breakfast. I thought I had it timed properly, but we arrived at the beach just in the nick of time. We had been on the beach less than 2 minutes when I captured the picture above.

Yesterday, was a day off (as far as our family was concerned) for the farmer’s market. Although, we did go up to pick up some produce and while we were there, we met a young lady and her son. She was looking for a church and she showed up this morning – so cool.

In the afternoon we headed to Fenwick Island to the Shipwreck Museum – we were also able to catch the Fenwick Lighthouse. It is unusual in that it sits about a quarter mile off the beach. It was closed by the time we got there, so we couldn’t climb to the top.

We are hoping this week to go see some of some of the more unusual sights in Delaware – some of them listed on Atlas Obscura.

Which brings us to Sunday. We had a wonderful spirit of worship as we gathered this morning. It was the largest crowd we’ve had since I’ve been here with 45 in attendance. We had some great praises and a wonderful time of worship.

Following worship we had an organizational meeting for our Trunk or Treat. This is an annual event and it by far is the largest event we host. We are looking forward to this event as we reach out to our community.

This afternoon, I’ve been relaxing, watching Eagles football. It was good to see them win. That brings us to the end of this week’s writing. Have an awesome week and Seize the Day!

Prayer for the Week

O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Is Anything Worth More Than Your Soul?

16th Sunday after Pentecost | September 12, 2021

Proverbs 1:20-33 and Psalm 19 • James 3:1-12 • Mark 8:27-38

Mark 8:27-38 | New Living Translation

27 Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

28 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

29 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”

30 But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

31 Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. 32 As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.

33 Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Under a Clear Blue Sky

September 11, 2001

It was a defining moment of a generation. Much like our grandparents when they thought back to the moment they heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was like the moment our parents heard about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It was the shock and the horror of a nation.

September 11, 2001…

Nine-Eleven…

I remember it like it was yesterday…

Today it is twenty years since we learned of the horrific terrorist attacks on our nation. Much like Pearl Harbor, the JFK assassination, the Challenger disaster…it is a moment…a defining moment…a moment that stays with us. People ask, “Do you remember what you were doing…where you were..” and we can immediately respond. We can answer questions like this. I have no recollection of Pearl Harbor or JFK. I wasn’t born before WWII and I was a baby when JFK was shot. But the first defining moment it remember was 1986 and the Challenger disaster. I remember exactly where I was.

Fast forward to September 11, 2001…I can recall many of the details. It was a beautiful late summer morning in Upstate New York. The girls had gotten up for school and had been picked up by the school bus. Pam and James were over at the house. I had a Noon to 8 shift at Radio Shack to go to, but the next Sunday was to be “Salvation Sunday.” It was a denominational emphasis on preaching a salvation message. I had gone over to my office at the church to work on my sermon. Who knew the events that would unfold shortly?

Like I said, I was over in my office and about 8:50, Pam came over and told me that a plane had hit the one of the World Trade Center towers. My thought was that’s a little unusual. After all the weather was perfect – clear, blue sky, no clouds, no fog, visibility for miles. It was that way across the east coast. But at the moment I took it for a freak accident and went back to my work and Pam went back to the house.

About 5 minutes after nine, Pam came back over and said that another plane had struck the South Tower. What? On a clear, beautiful day? It became apparent that the first plane was not an accident and neither was the second. But what was going on? Little did we know the terror that was beginning to unfold. We watched as the images were played and replayed “for those of you just joining us.” When Pam came over and told me, I came back over to the house and watched it unfold. The images were replayed, when all of a sudden we saw new pictures – pictures of Washington DC and what appeared to be smoke rising from the Pentagon…the horror was not over yet…minute by minute we waited…our nation was under attack…from an enemy we didn’t know yet. How many planes were going to drop from the sky? We knew that three planes had crashed, but we didn’t know how many more there were.

I’ll never forget the moment that I watched the first tower collapse before my very eyes. I had seen the plume of smoke. Now what? Soon the newscasters announced the South Tower had collapsed. The tragedy was growing. How many more people would lose their lives. We were just adjusting to the fact that one of the WTC towers were gone, when we heard of another plane down – this one in the fields of western Pennsylvania. Apparently it had missed its target. At 10:30, we watched the second tower fall.

By that point, the FAA had grounded all planes and told them to land where ever they were – and the skies went silent. It was an eventful 1 and 3/4 hours. Like I said, I was scheduled to go to work, so around 11:30, Pam took me to work. Mike and I watched the TV’s on the RCA display. Needless to say it was a slow day…most people’s minds were on the events that had unfolded. However, we had a big day with cellphones and satellite dishes. People wanted to know what was going on.

It was all so surreal…under a clear blue sky.

Today marks twenty years since that event. Last night, we watched a segment on how people let their loved ones know. The final moments of Flight 93 are well documented – the voice mails – the phone calls. Those on Flight 93 gave their lives so that an intended target in Washington DC would be saved.

There were so many that day who were heroes – they never signed up for that job, but they were heroes nonetheless. Today we remember the day that was September 11, 2001

Let me finish with a poem by Michael Brooks entitled Under a Clear Blue Sky


A scene from out of a nightmare.

A plume of smoke stretching to the heavens.  Expressions of shock and horror on the faces of onlookers.  Stunned silence from officials and controllers.  All eyes riveted upon images of horror.

Images.

Repeated.

Over.

And over.

We watch in fascinated horror as the moment of disaster plays again on the screen “for those just joining us,” unable to tear ourselves away.

We hug our children and grope for the words to explain the thing that their innocence has been subjected to until we realize that our presence is what they need most.

Although the distance dilutes the flames, our hearts break as our spirits penetrate the conflagration that hides the human toll from our eyes.

Involuntary prayers follow the smoke on its upward climb, seeking to protect the souls borne heavenward on its billows.

Our pride.  Our confidence.  Our humanity.

Shattered.

In a moment.

In the twinkling of an eye.

Tuesday…under a clear blue sky.

The day the Challenger fell.

Another Tuesday…another clear blue sky.

Again, the smoke.  Again, the horror.  Again, the images.

Images.

Repeated.

Over.

And over.

Our pride.  Our confidence.  Our humanity.

Shattered.

In a moment.

In the twinkling of an eye.

Tuesday…under a clear blue sky.

Once again, we all know the answer to, “Where were you when…?”

In forced communion, we imagine the terror of those within the heart of the nightmare

Within the heart of darkness.

The confusion.  The uncertainty.

The choice.

Fall or burn.

For some…for most, perhaps…the choice is made for them.

As when the Challenger fell, we reach out to our loved ones.  We seek to make sense of the insanity.  We search out some sliver of good from the ruin and wreckage before us.

But it’s difficult…because it’s different.

Challenger was an accident waiting to happen…one that some anticipated, one that some tried to prevent.

But no one deliberately brought down the Challenger.

Yesterday was different.

Yesterday was not merely an attack on America, an attack on the government, an attack on policy.

Yesterday was an attack on civilization, an attack on the rule of law, an attack on humanity itself.

It was an attack on all of us…on each of us…no matter out nationality, our ethnicity, our creed or our color.

The question now is, how will we respond?

The Challenger crew embodied the best of humanity.

Yesterday’s terrorists embodied the words of humanity.

Will we now respond with the best…or the worst…of ourselves?

Tuesday…under a clear blue sky.

–Michael Brooks

Written on 9/12/2001 by Michael Brooks in response to the terror attacks on 9/11.  I used this poem for my sermon the following Sunday, 9/16/2001.  It was scheduled to be Salvation Sunday.  I thought this was a powerful reminder and tribute to remember 9 years ago today — 9/11/2001