Tag Archives: Psalm 103

Rock and View

In my last post, I described my initial yearning to be with God during my two night hermitage at Pacem in Terris. I wanted to be still and simply rest in my heavenly Father’s presence.

St John the Beloved hermitage insideThe inside of the hermitage encouraged my yearning. The large rocking chair helped me slowly rock my anxious thoughts away and enter into a time of quiet rest. Windows covered the whole east wall and the view, though not stunning, was calm and serene. The many trees were stripped of leaves and dappled with snow. In the distance I could see portions of a small snow-covered lake. The view invited me to be at peace.

I spent time simple rocking, reflecting, and reading scripture. I also was feeling blessed and  meditated on a favorite psalm, 103.

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Later the Psalmist writes.

Who satisfies you with good as long as you live,
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. v5

I reflected on the down-to-earth satisfaction of being open to God’s Spirit. I prayed for all who seek satisfaction in our world. I prayed for my family, my congregation and the world, that we might be satisfied in God’s gracious love.

I went to bed early and slept well. I rose before dawn, observing the slowly brightening sky. I rocked as I watched the sky turn shades of red and magenta as the sun lifted over the horizon. What a simple yet profound joy to watch the sun give light and life to our world. That east window gave me perspective on my life.

Tahuya River near my father’s cabin

Years ago, my dad bought a small piece of property on the Tahuya River (really more of a creek than a river) in an isolated section of Washington state. Every week-end he would drive the thirty miles to the property where he constructed his own cabin in the woods. I had started seminary at the time; he was about the age I am now. He constructed the cabin without power tools, mixing the cement by hand with water from the river. It was a plain A-frame cabin, with few frills. He spent years building it.

I visited the cabin only three to four times during the time he owned it. I never slept in it; my dad rarely did either. One thing it seemed to lack in my memory were any large windows. I remember it as a dark, dreary place – though I also remember how satisfied and content my father was when he visited it. It was his place of rest.

We each need places of rest and restoration, though each of us may discover different places that suit our personality. I know that if I should ever build a cabin in the woods it will need windows and lots of them.

Where do you find your window on the world?

Lord Jesus, open the windows of my heart that I might see you.

Superior Hiking Trail – Day One

Last week I hiked a portion of the Superior Hiking trail. Castle Danger, north of Two Harbors, was my launch point. The sky was a milky grey as I lifted my pack from the back of the car. For the first time I had packed an umbrella and I wondered if I would need to use it within the first mile.

The climb to the first ridge was steep but soon I was at ridgeline and I had my first glimpse of Lake Superior. With the grey sky it was hard to discern the horizon and the water. Large ore ships convinced me it truly was the Great Lake. As I moved along the ridge, I passed two backpackers and their dog, headed down to the parking lot. What I remember was that they had new gear; even the dog had a new pack. They were the only other backpackers I saw that day.

With the late start I soon stopped for my lunch of cheese, tortillas and trail mix. The view was superb, especially as the sun poked through some of the overcast. I felt confident and energetic after lunch, pushing the pace to see if I might make 15 miles before calling it a day.

IMG_20130528_153743_452I dropped off the ridge and started following the west bank of the Gooseberry River. There were plenty of down trees that lay across the path and several wet, muddy stretches, but overall the trail was clear and easy to follow.

As I neared Highway 61 and the popular Gooseberry Falls State Park, I saw several day hikers. Once I left the park, the trail was quiet and isolated again. I climbed a new ridge and followed the trail through pine and birch forests towards Split Rock river. As late afternoon approached I knew that 15 miles was beyond my reach; my left ankle was sore along with overall fatigue. I decided Blueberry Hill would be my campsite.

Blueberry Hill CampsiteAs I set up camp, I took time to sit and be thankful. I was so excited to be on the trail again, that I hadn’t taken time to thank God for marvels of the day: the beauty and wonder along the trail, the physical ability to walk 11 miles, the food that sustain my body, the small bits of equipment that constituted my home and the many volunteers who created and maintain the trail. A psalm came to mind,

Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5

I went to bed thankful and wondering what day two would bring.