Once again this year another summer is fading away quickly. I love the summer with its warmth and greenery. I enjoy being outside. I frequently will work on my sermons and read outside on our patio. It is quiet and relaxing, and I find that when I am in such a setting, I can concentrate more easily. But it has been cooler the past three weeks or so-- a preview of autumn, I suppose. But next week, the temperatures here in NE Ohio are supposed to climb back up in to the 80s... perhaps even the high 80s. So, I am going to enjoy the warmth over the next few days knowing it may be the last "heat wave" we experience this year.
Years ago, the late singer songwriter, John Denver wrote a series of five songs called Season Suite. The words to "Fall" express how I feel every year when I see summer winding down:
Reflections in the water like shadows in my mind,
Speak to me of passing days and nights and passing time.
The falling leaves are whispering, winter's on its way.
I close my eyes, remembering the warmth of yesterday.
It seems a shame to see September swallowed by the wind,
And more than that, it's, oh, so sad to see the summer end.
And though the changing colors are a lovely thing to see,
If it were mine to make the change, I think I'd let it be.
But I don't remember hearing anybody asking me
Indeed, no one asked me, and even though I dislike the passing of summer each year, that dislike gives way to the gratitude I have for experiencing God's creation in all of its splendor, whether it is found in the summer flowers or the winter winds hardening ice on the barren trees.
I prefer summer, but I will rejoice in all the seasons of the year.
We need to remember the people of Egypt. The situation there is terrible. We also need to specifically pray for the Egyptian Christians in this difficult time. Churches have been burned and vandalized as well as many homes in which Christians live. I write these words in the early morning hours when everything is calm and peaceful. I have no doubt that many Egyptians would like to enjoy such serenity.
This week the U.S. government has finally acknowledged what everyone has known for a long time-- the shadowy place known as "Area 51" actually exists. I say it's about time that we know something about the government's secrets, since they apparently know a lot about us through listening in on our phone calls and reading our emails. The NSA has become a disgrace.
Tia Ghose suggests that a 300 year drought may have led to the downfall of ancient Greece and other Mediterranean cultures. She writes,
A sharp drop in rainfall may have led to the collapse of several eastern Mediterranean civilizations, including ancient Greece, around 3,200 years ago. The resulting famine and conflict may help explain why the entire Hittite culture, chariot-riding people who ruled most of the region of Anatolia, vanished from the planet, according to a study published today (Aug. 14) in the journal PLOS ONE.
"This climate shift caused crop failures, dearth and famine, which precipitated or hastened socioeconomic crises and forced regional human migrations," the authors write in the paper.
The results bolster the notion that a massive drought caused the Bronze Age collapse...Even in the 21st century, we remain at the mercy of the elements.
The latest issue of Christian History Magazine is devoted to early African Christianity-- a neglected subject we should know about in more detail. Several articles are available online for your edification. Check them out here.
Quotes of the Week (Possibly, but Not Necessarily Said This Week):
"I'm kind of busy right now." --"Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson in response to those who want him to run for Congress.
"Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character." --Heraclitus
"The NFL is considering hiring a mother of three to be a referee. They wanted someone who's used to giving time-outs." --Conan O'Brien
"As preachers of the gospel of Jesus, do not expect worldly honors: these Jesus Christ neither took to himself, nor gave to his disciples" --Adam Clarke
"Faith idles when character shrivels." --Miroslav Volf
Interesting and Somewhat Useless Trivia:
The word "laser" is an acronym and stands for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation."
Half of all peanuts grown in the U.S. are used for peanut butter.
I Love Irony. It's So Ironic:
Bobby Leach was a world-renowned daredevil. He was the first male to survive going over Niagara Falls in 1911. As a performer for the circus Leach survived many daredevil attempts that had killed many before him. But in 1926, fate (or in this case, fruit) would catch up to him. Leach slipped on an orange peel and fractured his leg. He died a couple of months later of complications from gangrene when the leg became infected.
This Week in History:
On August 16, 1948, baseball Legend George Herman "Babe" Ruth died of cancer.