By God’s Side: September 30, 2020

Weekly Inspirational Reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles

September 30, 2020

The Reverend Dr. John A. DallesI was walking around the church one morning not that long ago, just enjoying being back at the church building, rather than working remotely. I was taking in the sights and sounds. There were workmen in front of the building, from the landscaping company that is redoing the landscaping as you enter the Sanctuary. They were hard at work, with power saws, shovels, and clippers.

I went around the corner and came down the circular drive toward the doors to the Parish Hall. And as I passed by there, I looked down and saw twenty-eight acorns, which is no surprise considering the huge oak tree that sits there. I believe it is at least as old as the church building, probably older. This is the time of the year when acorns fall. Acorns were scattered here and there and everywhere, in random patterns. But the acorns on the front step of the church – those twenty-eight acorns – were not in a random pattern.

Someone had gathered them, and then arranged them in such a way that together they formed a heart, which immediately brought me a sense of surprise and joy.

I do not know who did it. I probably will never know. I assume it was a young child, but it could have been done by anyone whose outlook on life has not grown old. I took a photo so I would have it, because I assumed, before long, neighborhood squirrels might come along and scatter the acorns again. I wanted them to be remembered as a sign of love.

It is possible for us to look at ourselves like those acorns. We are beautifully made in and of ourselves, by God the Creator. And then, to think of the fellowship that we have in the church, like that heart shape, made of many different people, joined together by the grace of God. Isn’t it great that the body of Christ can convey the love and compassion of Jesus our Lord?

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that our unity will one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

The Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles
Interim Senior Pastor, Shadyside Presbyterian Church

About Dr. Dalles

Read more about Dr. Dalles.

Watch a brief video introducing a series of conversations with Dr. Dalles.

About By God’s Side

Shadyside Presbyterian Church publishes By God’s Side, a weekly series of inspirational reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles, to support you in your spiritual journey. These pastoral messages appear in the blog section of the church website each week. (Our weekly e-newsletter includes an excerpt to remind you to read along with us regularly; click here to subscribe to the e-newsletter if you do not already receive it.) We hope this regular feature will help you to draw closer to God’s side in your life of faith.

Read more reflections by Dr. Dalles from By God’s Side.