Tag Archives: Joy

Superior Hiking Trail – Day Four

On my final day of hiking, I sent a leisurely morning in the motel, waiting for the morning fog to burn off. Late in the morning I hiked in rare sunshine back up to trail on the outskirts of Silver Bay. The Superior Hiking Shuttle would not arrive until 3:00 pm so I had time to hike back up the trail that was so foggy and wet the day before.

Looking Southwest from the ridge near Silver Bay.

Looking southwest from the ridge near Silver Bay.

After reaching the ridge, the views were quite spectacular. I could look down into the Beaver River Valley and even spot the Beaver Bay trailhead five miles distant. The railroad and pipeline reminded me that this is mining country with ore trains bring raw taconite to the Silver Bay processing plant.

The clear views also made me pause for some spiritual reflection. The day before I had hiked over this terrain totally oblivious to the views around me. Yesterday I had to walk by faith, trusting in the trail to lead me safely to Silver Bay. Now I was given the opportunity to see some of the beauty and wonder surrounding me. Many times in our walk with God we are walking in the fog , trusting in God’s love to guide us. Then comes the occasional glimpse of how God is marvelously weaving our life path into a beautiful tapestry.

IMG_20130531_123626_171I hiked back down to the trail head with plenty of time to meet the shuttle. I was the only passenger that afternoon as the driver drove me back to my car at Castle Danger. He told me that not only was the late spring a great time to hike the trail, but early fall (mid-September to early October) was a fantastic time as the leaves change color. Now I have a new incentive to return and explore another section of the trail.

Lord Jesus, thank you for all life journeys.

Top Ten Children Prayers

Child Praying

Yesterday I ran across an internet listing of children’s prayers which I have reduced to my top 10.  These prayers you can pray with exceeding joy!

10.  Dear God,
please put another holiday between Christmas and Easter. There is nothing good in there now.

9.  Dear God,
Thank you for the baby brother but what I asked for was a puppy. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up.

8.  Dear God,
how did you know you were God? Who told you?

7.  Dear God,
do you draw the lines around the countries? If you don’t, who does?

6.  Dear God,
I keep waiting for spring, but it never did come yet. What’s up?  Don’t forget.

5.  Dear God,
Is Pastor Keller a friend of yours, or do you just know him through the business?

4.  Dear God,
I bet it’s very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.

3.  Dear God,
I do not think anybody could be a better God than you. Well, I just want you to know that. I am not just saying that because you are already God.

2.  Dear God,
I am doing the best I can. Really !!!!

And, saving the best for last   .

1.  Dear God,
I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday night. That was really cool.

I think #2 captures our tremendous need for confession and God’s promise of forgiveness while #1 describes the joy of praising God for the wonder and beauty of creation.   Sometime the simplest prayers are the best.  Romans 8:26 The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.

What prayers give you joy?

A Concert of Joy

Bev Handy and Sylve Keller at Concert

On Sunday I attended an amazing concert with my mom.   The quality of music, the venue and length were not that unusual, but the performers were.  Lloyd and Maxine Johnson are a married duet who were performing for the 100th time at my mom’s senior residence.   The fact that Lloyd and Maxine are also residents and are over ninety adds to my astonishment and joy.   Lloyd and Maxine started this ministry of song when they lived in Florida for 25 year and continued when they moved back to Minnesota 7 years ago. 

Lloyd and Maxine clearly enjoy what they do as they bring happiness to the audience.  The community room was packed with residents, family and friends.  Applause and cheers came after each number.  I sat with my mom and watched her sing along with tunes from her childhood.   Even though she now lives in a memory care unit, she loves having interaction with others.   Bev Handy, a resident in the independent living apartments, made sure my mom made it to the concert and had a good seat.

Ministry of service does not end with retirement.   The Bible does not dwell on this topic.   Abraham started following God’s call at the age of 75.   Moses served as leader of the Israelites at age 80.   We may stop working a particular job at age 66, but we can still serve our Lord using our unique gifts, strengths and passion in the community around us.   For years after her retirement from JC Penny’s, my mom served as a volunteer at her local hospital and church.   Now she is benefiting from the service of others, like Bev, Lloyd and Maxine.  

 I pray that I might be such a joyful servant when that time comes.  For now, I plan to focus on my current ministry bringing joy, faith, hope and love to God’s people at Resurrection Lutheran Church. 

Where have you experienced joy in service?

New Year Beginnings?

Each Day Counts

As a child I remember waking up on New Year’s Day and walking around the house, looking for something new.   I asked my parents to show me something that was new and they would simply point to the calendar.   I was not convinced until I found a penny or nickel that had the new year printed on it.  Naturally that would take several weeks or months.

Perhaps that is why I have never been good at New Year’s resolutions.  Part of my reason is that our New Year’s celebration comes at such an odd time, in the middle of winter.  I would rather start a new resolution in the spring, when everything is budding and alive.   My physical exercise always seems to pick up a notch when I can run in just shorts and a fleece top: no mittens, hat, tights, or jacket.    And my devotional life seems to shift by the seasons as well.  In the spring and summer, I want to be more active, serving God in tangible, concrete ways.  In the late fall and winter, I become more introspective, contemplative, spending time in study and prayer  By New Year’s Day, Minnesota has already been locked into winter for more than a month.  

Plus church life rarely revolves around January 1st (with the exception of budgets).  The school year of September to June has a much bigger impact on the weekly rhythms of life in a congregation.  Christmas and New Year’s are a wonderful break, but immediately following New Year’s, it is back to the school year flow.  Furthermore, the church year of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and Lent have grown into a significant part of my walk with Jesus.  The people of God have always focused on the birth of Jesus, not the start of a new calendar.   

So what do I do with New Years?  Treat it with the respect and joy that every day deserves.  The psalmist declares: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”    May each day of 2011 be filled with the joy of the Lord.

How does the New Year change your life?