Thursday, July 26, 2012

Meditations from a Mountain

Mt. Rainier, July 14, 2012

I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From where will my help come? – Psalm 121                                            

At first sight, Creator God, the mountain seems so powerful, so majestic, so unchanging.

It seems to be such a good image of you, the one whose creative power released the energies of the universe and sustains them across the eons.

As we draw closer, the power of the mountain increases. So does a sense of foreboding. How does one approach such a magnificent and sacred place?

With awe, with respect, with boldness, much as we might approach you.

We watch the early morning light begin to dapple the summit. We see it spread its brilliance across the vast sweep of the highest reaches of this place.  We watch the light reflected off the whiteness of the snow-covered slopes. We sense the illumination you bring into our world, into our lives.

But this mountain is not unchanging. Volcanoes of the past have changed its shape. Glaciers crawl down its sides, grinding away its surface, spreading into the valleys they have carved out of landscape. Are you, too, a power that remains in motion, reforming and reshaping your existence in our lives?

And the forces that bring change to the mountain bring threats to our lives. The glaciers open and swallow up hikers. Some day, the bubbling lava below the surface will break through again, reshaping the landscape once more, covering cities and people in the process.

We recognize the terror masked in the beauty and we hope that your creative force will carry us toward renewed life rather than to imminent destruction.

Along the slopes, tiny flowers in blues and yellows and reds and purples stand out among the lush green carpet or accent the brownish gray of the rock. They are delicate, vulnerable, yet bring so much beauty to what is such a harsh landscape. The mountain nurtures them, just as you nurture us as we live as vulnerable people made in your image and sustained by your love.

And then the clouds begin to swirl around the peak. The clarity of earlier times is gone. The mountain is obscured. We know it is there, we can still feel its presence, but now it is an unseen presence. Sometimes when we look for you, O God, we cannot see you. The clouds of life, the mists of doubt make you hard to find. Yet we trust that you are always there.

It’s dusk now,

The mountain still towers over us. The deepening shades of the sky begin to absorb this powerful, majestic, site.

There is a stillness in the air. In the stillness, beneath the mountain, we sense your presence in our lives.

Be with us, Creator God.
Help us find you in the glories of your world,
in the moments of terror in our lives,
in our vulnerable times and when we feel lost in a fog.

Be with us as we climb the paths before us,
trusting that your love and your care will be with us wherever we may go.
When we lift up our eyes to the mountain,
let us find you there, may your help be always with us.


  1. Lovely--thanks for sharing some of your and Ellen's adventure.

  2. Thank you Phil for sharing. It's amazing how we can sense the persona of God when we are attentive to the world around us. I hope you and Ellen found your time away to be one of rest, reflection and renewal. We are certainly glad to have you home!