Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday....Today is the day that Christians everywhere remember the great sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.We had our Good Friday service tonight in our little historical Marble Community Church. It was a somber service as Good Friday services are meant to be. Because today Christians remember the death of Jesus.

During the service the congregations brought up sins, requests, struggles, broken hearts, whatever may be in their souls and nailed them to a cross made from a tree with the rough bark still on. I was humbled to see children with great interest nail their little cards with whatever they wrote to the cross. I was humbled to see elderly folks kneel tentatively with limbs that do not work as well as in younger days and nail whatever was on their hearts to the cross. I was humbled to remember the price that was paid for us. I was humbled and somewhat anguished to hear as each person pounded the nails. The sound of the nails..........Then at the end Jon read the scripture,"It is finished."..........Then in the silence he extinguished the light of the Christ candle........."It is finished."

But Christians have hope because we know Sunday is coming......And with its coming is the great hope that we all await!........One day because of what Christ did for us there will be a great resurrection! There will be a great reunion! Yes, we as Christians know that Sunday is coming........

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Life at the top.......We live at 8000 ft here in Marble. So the mountains that surround us are from 11,000 to 13,000 plus feet. Their peaks proclaim their glory above the tree line. Their world is a place unique unto itself. I have been at the top during the summer and know first hand how different each peak is and the life that exists there that lives no where else. So I have experienced their uniqueness.

However during the winter their world is untouchable and I find myself longing to see it up close but knowing that the environment during the winter is not so welcoming to mankind. On one hike I saw the curving outline of a broken shelf of snow that had been an avalanche of some sort on Mount Daly. I stood in wonder that so much was going on up there that we are not even aware of. Did an elk or a mountain goat get trapped as the snow rushed down in a violence that takes life in a moment? We know that well here in Marble. Some people take to the back country to attempt skiing some of these untouched snowy peaks. We lost a skier on Marble Mountain in December in an avalanche.

On another hike I looked back at Whitehouse and Purple Mountains and beheld the wind at the top swirling the snow in swirling wisps and swirling mini tornadoes. The sight of this occurrence as I stood in the brilliant sun amazed me. I even laughed out loud like a child. "Look the snow is dancing!"

I have longed all winter to get back to the range of mountains where Purple Mountain stands out. This longing comes because I hiked below it a couple times in the summer. I want to see it with all the snow pack because it is untouched by man. You cannot get there safely in the winter and I just long to see the untouched beauty. However that beauty is deceiving in that to go there would be dangerous. It is not a country to take for granted. Its beauty lives with danger and requires human respect. It amazes me that "life at the top" is so different and holds in its crevasses a world of its own.

So for now I must wait till summer to once again be at the top. Yet my heart is stirred by their magnificent display! Each winter peak tempts me and calls me by name. "Behold," they say, "We are God's handiwork. Look up, look heavenward, your creator knows all, sees all, loves all. Behold," they say, "God, like our peaks cannot be grasped in His entireness by mere humans. But He opens His arms to all who will come."

"Some of the Pharisees in the crowds said to Jesus, ''teacher rebuke your disciples!"
"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Luke 19:39-40

So perhaps the mountains actually do "cry out," pointing me to my Creator!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Church in Marble.......Today I went to our little historic church as I always do on Sundays. I did the things I usually do as a pastor's wife. I prayed for the service while the church was empty before God's people arrived. I prayed for those who would come. I acknowledged that God knew my heart and that the loss of my niece was still fresh and the news that my dog, Starbuck, has cancer was close. But for a moment I wanted my prayers during this path to the cross (the season of Lent) to be about all those who would walk through the door.

Jon preached from the gospel of John 12: 10-11. It was the story of Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus annointing Jesus' feet with expensive perfume and taking down her hair (which was something women would not do in that time and culture) and using her hair to dry His feet. Jon's theme was, do we do all that we can do to express our love for Jesus. Do we do all that we can do to serve Jesus. As he was sharing Mary's example of "extravagant" love for the Master, he got down on his knees as she did. He went through the motion of letting down her hair as she did. He went through the motion of washing and drying Jesus' feet as she did. It was so very simple but so very powerful. I began to weep as I saw it in my heart. Do I show that kind of extravagant love to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?

It was communion Sunday and as we gathered around the altar to partake, I continued to weep. I was not the only one. There were the sounds of sniffs all around. We all gathered remembering the path to the cross. We all were acknowledging just how much He has done for us. And yes we knew that He knew our very hearts and shared in the joys and the sorrows that we brought to the altar. He told us that He would be called Emmanuel, God with us. Today in the Marble Church it was truly an Emmanuel Sunday, God with us.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tomorrow, March 8th would have been Megan's 25th birthday. How does one get use to saying would have been? How do you speak always in the past tense of one so young?

Today, with Starbuck, I hiked up to the top of Daniel's Hill. As I stood at the top beholding all the beauty around me I raised my hands to God and yelled Megan's name to the Heavens. Then I began to praise God with the Holy Spirit praying through me. Then the wind stirred the spruce and fir trees around me making that wonderful whispering sound. I stopped to listen. I felt the breeze touch my face and imagined it to be the breath of God. I felt His peace.......... But my heart still longs for a niece who died much too young. Till we meet again, Megan...........

Monday, March 4, 2013

Saturday our friend, Jon, Starbuck and I hiked up to Lizard Lake. It was a gorgeous day for a hike. On the way up I stepped off the trail to attempt a certain view for a picture. I was perched on the snow when suddenly my right leg sunk into the snow up to my hip while my left leg stayed on top of the snow! I am glad for all those years of ballet because I was truly in a position that needed alot of flexibility. Joy was laughing at me and Jon was up ahead on the trail looking at me in that way that says and "what are you up to now!" Well I would say up to one hip in snow! Joy helped me extricate myself from the situation.

The sun was warm and brilliant and it was refreshingly cool but not at all cold. As usual the scenery was God's exclamation point on His imaginative creativity! It was so renewing and God knows my broken heart needed laughter and renewing!

On the way back I attempted to get a photo of the Crystal River along the trail with the running water contrasted against clumps of snow. I once again got off the trail to get the shot that I imagined would be perfect. (keep in mind I am not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination) This time I knelt in the snow thinking I would have less of a chance of sinking into the deeper snow. Well as I was getting my camera focused one knee (again the right leg) sunk completely into the snow. I let out a little tiny itsy bitsy scream. My friend responded, "Oh no you don't! Not here!" See I was close to the little bank and with the deeper snow it was impossible to know exactly where the edge was. She did not want to fish me out of the river. Starbuck my yellow lab ran to my rescue and sat right beside me in the snow. Once again Joy pulled me out of my self-inflicted dilemma. Where was Jon you ask? Up ahead on the trail watching with the look of there she goes again.

It seemed such a blessing to have a good time. Yet as those of you know who have lost someone close to you, that person is just under the surface of all your thoughts. But God in His great mercy, gives you moments of normalcy to help you through one more day.

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye Heavenly Host. Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost."