Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sept 26, 2010

Dear Friends,

This past week has been filled with adventure. I spent several days with friends enjoying conversation, laughter, and good food while exploring parts of the Wyoming world.

One evening enroute home from a trip to the mountains, we stopped in a pullout. While stopping was a calm sensible act on the driver’s part, from my passenger perspective on the cliff side of the road I confess I felt a momentary wish for a parachute! Safely parked, however, I got over my qualms, and the three of us got out of the car, and stood together on the shoulder of that small space of ground looking down.

The valley stretching miles below us was bracketed by the massive Wind River Range on the east, and on the far west by the Tetons that formed a black jagged horizon against the late afternoon sky. We were looking down on a deep glacier lake already darkening with the shadows of the mountains that surrounded it. Our human smallness seemed the clearest thing about our identity in that immense world of wind and endless grass with its high sky and granite boundaries. We sensed too the briefness of our human existence measured against the massive mountains around us. We understood as well that the beauty that touched us in changing shape and shadow and color lay beyond the limits of our human language.

Then, as we turned to go, I saw a small bush clinging fiercely to the edge of the cliff.

“Is that some kind of mountain rose?” I asked my hostess, noticing the shape of the leaves.

“Let me see if I can find a rose hip,” she said, and reached into the bush. “Look here!” she exclaimed, and held out her hand, cupping in her palm a tiny red berry about the size of the nail on my small finger.

“It’s a wild raspberry,” I said surprised, examining it. “Well, so it is,” we agreed as the three of us passed that small bit of transitory life from hand to hand.

Later that night, drowsy but not yet asleep in my warm bed, my mind revisited both that resilient raspberry and the towering cliffs that form the Wind River Range.

“I think that today I recognized God’s shadow in two places,” I reported to myself, “—the raspberry and the rock.” I looked again at the picture in my mind of the mountains behind the lake, and of the tiny wild raspberry cupped in C.’s palm. I concluded drowsily, “They both are assigned to image You,” and drifted off.

Then, just before sleep silenced thinking completely, my eyes suddenly came wide open. Belatedly, I realized that my summary had omitted an important aspect of the rock/raspberry matter.

Awake now, I added, “God, You know that imaging business we were talking about—well, I get it—rock and raspberry and me, too. I understand—me, too.”

Thinking with you about what present Kingdom work looks like for mountains, for raspberries, and for you and me.

See you next week.


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