I may whine and complain about the west-central Florida heat (and the mercury has been pushing 95-98 here in Brandon pretty much every afternoon for the best part of 10-weeks!)... but the unique climate in this part of the world undoubtedly produces some of the most spectacular skies you'll ever see.
This photograph (above) was taken from the K-Mart parking lot on Hwy 60 around 5:00 Wednesday afternoon. I didn't have my camera so it's just a cell-phone shot. There's even a sense in which the urban landscape contributes to the view, with the huge ungainly light poles stuck in the middle of a parking lot that's at least three times bigger than it would need to be on even the busiest shopping day of the year.
I guess I could rail against the idiocy of a planning process that allows pavement to run a good hundred yards from the street to the storefront, when there is more than ample room for grass and trees - but I'd be wasting my breath in this particular neck of the woods.
So instead I'll pause in wonder at the handiwork of creation, where even concrete and steel can look good against a tropical sky.
WONDER: Wonder seems to be my theme this week. I hadn't really thought about it until talking with some friends yesterday about what exactly God is teaching us. It's a great question - what is God impressing on us, at this time, in this context of our lives...?
For one of my friends the answer was "trust"; another said that God wants him to learn to "surrender"; and the third pointed to "grace." For me the answer was this. "God is teaching me wonder," I said. "I've been struck this week at how easy it is to take things for granted. Love; beauty; prayer; worship; celebration. I'm learning - just a little - to allow the wonder of it all to wash over me, to open my arms wider, and to take it all in."
Allow the wonder of it all to wash over us... Open our arms wider... Take it all in....
Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them (Matthew 13:13-15)