I’m Close to Moutain Man Status

Some Quotes

From William Blake,Great things are done when men and mountains meet; this is not done by jostling in the street.”

From Anatoli Boukreev, “Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve; they are cathedrals where I practice my religion.” 

From Julie Andrews, “Climb Every Mountain”

From John Muir, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.” 

John Muir was a Scottish/American engineer, environmentalist, and author. He wrote 300 articles and 14 books about enjoying and protecting the great outdoors. His writing was instrumental in Yosemite and Sequoia becoming national parks. He founded the Sierra Club serving as its president until he died. The primary purpose was to preserve Yosemite National Park for future generations.

And Me?

Well, I’m somewhere between John Muir and Julie Andrews. Not quite a bonafide mountain man, but a mountain lover to be sure. What is there to love?

  • The clean, purified air
  • Trees: Blue Spruce, Bristlecone Pines, Ponderosa Pines, and Aspens
  • Rivers, streams, and waterfalls
  • The majesty, grandeur, and beauty
  • God’s magnificence abundantly displayed.

 

image4
Not exactly Jeremiah Johnson, but close, really very close.

Sometimes I dream of living among them, in a simple cabin next to a trout-filled stream. Its simplicity wouldn’t preclude running water, electricity, indoor plumbing, central heating, and a towering fieldstone fireplace. I’m willing to surrender some of society’s comforts and conveniences but come on, I am not an animal.

I’ll definitely require a toaster oven, espresso maker, and an excellent juicer.

The Spiritual Part

Some Biblical References

  • Israel made their covenant with God at Mt Sinai.
  • It’s where Moses received the tablets.
  • At Mt Nebo, Moses saw the Promise Land that he would never enter.
  • David wrote that God’s power formed the mountains.
  • Psalm 121:1 says to lift our eyes to the mountains for help.
  • The prophets mention mountains more than seventy times.
  • Jesus climbed the mountains to pray, teach, and be transformed.
  • Psalm 98:8 mentions that the mountains sing together for joy.

The poetry of the Psalms has such imagery, the mountains singing for joy. I have heard their joyful song and their calling.

I cherish sitting on a fallen log, or a rock in a mountain stream, to listen for the music. It’s a beautiful and peaceful melody, soul-soothing, and heart-healing. The soft breeze will flow with the river, and I’ll sense the presence of God’s spirit coming to fill me with joyful peace. The Spirit will see my troubles and struggles and take them before the Father to express the words I cannot find.

The mountains aren’t a bad place to get deeply personal with God.

To Close

For me, a gentle mountain stream is a nearly sacred thing. Whatever amount of time I get to spend is never enough. But whatever I get is time spent with my creator. It’s like reaching up and touching the face of God.

Mr. Muir was right; the mountains are calling.

To God Be The Glory

 

The Cold, Dark Lens

I stand in my usual spot. Some call it a stage, and some have called it the pulpit. Either way, it’s where sermons are delivered, lessons taught, and messages shared.

My usual spot is where I preach on Sunday mornings. Two sermons a week, one for each service. But not lately. The last Sunday that we had two live services was March 8. 

Now I deliver my sermons on Wednesday afternoons. That’s when they are recorded and then live-streamed from our website. Each Sunday, 800-1000 people will watch the service on their phone, computer, or big screen TV and do so from the comfort of their homes. I see none of them.

My spot is in the Worship Center designed for hundreds of people. But instead of looking at a congregation of familiar faces, I look into a camera lens. It’s a hard thing to do, to record in a big, dark, empty space. Looking into a lens is not warm and fuzzy; it’s lifeless, and it gives nothing back, not a warm smile or rich laughter. It is an empty experience, unrewarding, and unfulfilling. 

Camera lens

It’s the way it has to be. We call it the Corona Virus, or just virus, Covid-19, or the pandemic. Twice we have planned to reopen the church, and twice we have canceled due to an upsurge of new cases in the greater Houston area. So, we record a worship service with the praise team, prayer leaders, and commuion.

But it’s not the same, is it? 

Church family, I miss you. I miss shaking hands and hugging and seeing you love each other. I miss our Youth Group and all of our kids and sharing the Lord’s meal. 

You are prayed for and lifted up before the Father.

TO CLOSE

I’ll end with the following hope:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:4-7, 13