Sunday, December 31, 2017

After Christmas spiritual journey, lessons gleaned......
Impressions: Light and shadow
the effort to get to a place
indescribable beauty along the way,
the value of silence,
revelations along the trek or hike
Over the course of the five days, chapter one of the gospel of John as well as a couple of other scriptures have been in my heart. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit I have attempted to put my impressions together.
Light and shadow is a part of every hike with the sun shining around mountains and through trees. The sunlight is a warmer place in winter but the shadows are always a part of the hike. Every journey or trek requires effort to get to a destination. A person simply cannot wish themselves there. No, it is a one step at a time, one decision at a time for one who journeys in the back country. Yet along the way there is indescribable beauty that refreshes the soul and gives strength and desire as well as determination to continue to the destination. However, in particular for me the value of this journey both physically and spiritually lies in the silence.
In the silence I am more keenly aware of His Love, the comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the peace in the midst of both light and shadow, both effort and refreshing beauty. Out of the silence this awareness must accompany me back into my daily life.
Through the contemplation of John chapter one something that is probably obvious to everyone else spoke itself, if you will into my being. Jesus speaks our human language not just because He is all-knowing but because He came and lived among us, Emanuel. He knows the language of our human tongues, the language of our minds, and the language of our hearts because He came and lived among us, Emanuel. I am sure He knew all of that as He formed us in creation. But because He came and lived among us we can know that He walked our paths and experienced our light and shadows, our efforts and refreshing beauty. It comforts me to know that He speaks my particular language and knows my trek to my final destination because He is truly Emanuel, God with us, God with me.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was with God in the beginning. vs 1....The word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father full of grace and truth. vs 14" John 1:1 and 14
The reflections of a fellow pilgrim.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lent.....Throughout this period I have been studying our Bible Study lessons and truly contemplating what it must have been like for Jesus being God incarnate, God with us, fully man and fully God. Now this concept alone is beyond comprehension in my mere human mind. It is a quote from this week's study that sums it up; "it takes ears of faith and eyes of faith." And thus I pray, Lord give me ears that hear in faith and eyes that see in faith.
As I contemplated the account of Jesus raising Lazareth from the dead which according to John would directly lead to the cross, I asked again those questions: Jesus, as you were '"deeply moved" as John says, you saw all didn't you? You saw the grief of your friends didn't you? You saw the final hours before the cross didn't you? Did you see those of us who would lack faith or misunderstand things you so lovingly gave us? Yet you loved us anyway didn't you? You loved us enough to keep walking walking walking walking........toward Calvary. You were fully human and knew the cost, yet fully God and knew the cost! I weep and am compelled to pray, forgive me Lord.
Yet this passage also gives us the glorious promise; "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." Yes, as the song says, Sunday's coming but first you walked, from the day you were born, toward Calvary. The mother in me weeps for your precious drops of life-giving flow. The human in me weeps for your labored breaths. The heart in me takes comfort that, yes indeed, Sunday's coming and one day it will come for all!
Yes, sweet Jesus, give me ears of faith and eyes of faith as I daily walk this kingdom path on earth!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

It is the beginning of Lent, the 40 days before Easter.......Starbuck, my faithful yellow lab and roaming companion were taking our morning hike. It was an exquisite Colorado mountain day where the sky was such a blue that it was difficult to find words to adequately describe it. The fresh snow was bright white and Mt. Daly was overwelmingly beautiful! I could not breathe in enough of the fresh crisp air.
We kept the upward tread and I began to comtemplate and reflect as we are called to do especially during this season of Lent. Rather than reflect inward, I reflected on Jesus. The steps taken upward require a little effort especially at our altitude. This led me to ask questions: "Jesus, from the day you were born, you began the walk toward Calvary, didn't you? Did you know even as a little boy, what you chose to do in obedience to the Father's plan? As you grew older, did you see people crucified by the Romans and did the man within you cringe at the thought?
As I asked these questions, I became tearful. We continued our trek up to our goal. Upon reaching the stopping point just outside a friend's house, there was a tractor/ bobcat with a front-end loader. I sat on the front-end loader and looked out at Purple Mountain with the sun in my face. I thought about the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. All around was silence -- that silence that can only exist in nature. Starbuck found a resting place. My reflection wandered to the end of the tempting of Jesus when the Word said that angels came and ministered to Him. Questions: Did you feel as the angels fed you and tended you what you gave up as the God part came to earth fully man/fully God? You knew didn't you that you were on your final journey that would lead to Calvary? Just three years? How could it be?
As I continued to sit in the silence, I felt embraced by your love and my heart ached a little, maybe a lot. Oh what a price! Oh what love!
Father, forgive me for I know not what I do.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The spiritual rejoicing of a Marble pastor and his wife......Our church is a small historical church that is one of the first things you see as you enter the isolated mountain town of Marble. There is a picture of it on my cover photo. The church holds comfortably 80 people;so as Jon says we will never be a mega church. However small churches hold an invaluable role in a community where community can be experienced on a spiritual level.
Sunday was a spiritual high light of our 5 plus years here. We have in Marble legendary mountain men. I call them mountain men because they have lived in the back country in the simplist of situations and have carved out a life in its harsh conditions. They also look the part with their long beards and mountain practical "wears."
We have worked to develop a meaningful relationship with them because they are part of our community and because they have so many interesting stories to tell. We have received invitations to their parties and have attended them to enjoy much laghter and amazement. At one such party, a particularly legendary Marble mountain man told us as he placed an arm around Jon's shoulder, "as soon as I saw you, Jon and Peggoty coming, I knew there was hope for the rest of us. This moved me deeply.
SUNDAY, this legendary mountain man and a couple of his friends came to church for the first time. My heart was filled beyond capacity. I could tell as Jon welcomed them that he was fighting back tears. I cannot express the spirtual fulness this gave the both of us! Paul, you and your friends touched our souls in a way that can never be measured! As you would say, "we love you, brother!"