Rev. David McAllister
Rev. David McAllister

Reflections on Life

I am going to occasionally post a photograph and offer a reflection upon it.  This will not be on a weekly basis like my blog post, but two or three times a month, unless I happen to be particularly inspired and will then perhaps post something more often.  I am in no way imagining that these photographs will be considered great art.  On the contrary, many of them are apt to be quite mundane, with glimpses into the everyday experiences of life.  These are meant to offer a source for reflection, using the medium of photography to open the door to those thoughts.




Power and serenity at the same time.







An Autumn Sunset


It has been a while since I have posted a photograph here.  I have realized that doing so does in fact feed my spirit as I both take new photos and look through older ones.  The clouds and sunset combined here to just amaze me.





I was entranced by this sunset in January over the Pacific Ocean.  But I was equally thrilled by the number of other people who were out admiring the sunset, some of whom were taking pictures, and by the multiude of people who were simply out walking, enjoying the evening and the world around them.  It was reassuring that so many people, in one small area, were finding joy and some sense of peace in the midst of beauty and in company with others around them.





Attending a concert in an older, quite beautiful church, I was met with this sight.  Just as the light framed the windows, this view framed the beauty of the music and the musicians.




Peering through the window of an empty church, the photograph captured both sides of the window.




The ocean and sunsets both nourish my spirit.  Watching the sunset at the ocean fills me with joy and peace.

Where is your favorite place from which to watch the glory of a sunset?





The brown clump in the center of the photo is a swarm of bees in our jacaranda tree.  This is not a hive, just a travelers' resting place.  I was told that when the queen bee gets tired, she settles somewhere and the other bees gather around her to protect her.  Swarms often will move on within an hour, but this one stayed overnight, and then was suddenly gone.  Another amazing facet of nature.





Words can add nothing.






So often we try to control life.  Even in our gardens, we plan the space so that plants will grow in particluar ways.  But then the unexpected happens, and we can see life appearing before our eyes in unplanned and beautiful ways.





One of the scripture passages that I sometimes share during memorial services is a portion of the 139th Psalm.  The closing verses of that reading, in which the psalmist is speaking to God, are these:


“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.”    (verses 11-12, NRSV)


This view of the sun, both visible and hidden, behind the clouds, reminds me of that passage. 


What do you see in this photograph?  What would you title this photograph?







It was as I was viewing this scene, while sipping coffee and speaking with God, that I  felt strongly the sense that God pervades all that is around us  -  although sometimes,  especially in city settings, we may not be as aware of that flowing of God’s spirit.


I then recalled that wonderful poem of Gerard Manley Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur,” which begins  - 


“The world is charged with the grandeur of God. 

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil



He ends the poem with these lines  - 


“Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.”


[Source: Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985)]


And I knew, as I thought about God’s grandeur, that this was exactly what I was looking at.  What photograph would you place in your mind to capture that same sense of grandeur?




Welcome to my website. I hope you will discover a connection to the life of small churches, and the richness that the arts can bring to these churches.


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Copyright, David McAllister, 2015-2023.