Valleys, filled with bristlecone and red fir, plunge between frosted peaks. Granite boulders huddle throughout, statuesque clergy in a sanctuary of green. The liturgy of a waterfall murmurs about the precipice where I rest. Below, a river, silver and delicate, meanders toward eternity. I pause, breath deferent, body tingling. The vivacity of Devine inspiration enfolds me.
Along the ridgeline, shafts of gold ascend from the east, streaking a sky of cerulean. The last remnants of darkness flee before the onset of a new dawn. Flowers preen and open, converting bowed heads to glorifying faces. Tendrils of mist stretch past mountain shadows, and rise like praising hands, palms heavenward in unending devotion. I mirror them, pulse quickening, and inhale. Slow. Deep. My lungs are cooled by cleansing air, crisp and saturated with dew.
“Manna.” The word tumbles, an audible meditation, as my tongue savors the wetness. Satisfaction fills me.
He rained down manna upon them to eat. And gave them food from heaven.
I scale an outcrop, fingers wedged into solid stone. Focus, concentration, attention. Precision in every detail. An image, yellowed and distant, wafts across the canvas of my mind. My father had powerful arms, a sure grip. He used to hoist me onto his back. I pretended to be flying, breaking the bounds of earth. He died when I was seven. My body is slick with effort as I pull myself over the crest. Laughter consumes me. Now I’m flying on my Father’s shoulders, defying gravity in His arms. And death will never separate us. I’ve been doubly blessed.
Mountain hemlocks grow stunted by the altitude, twisted by savaging winds. I touch a trunk more than twenty generations old, scarred and withered before my ancestors’ ancestors were conceived. The bark is thick, branches gnarled, needles rugged. The tree is life and survival. It sways, a regal wave to the scrub and lichen about its throne. Ageless, timeless, steadfast. A kernel of understanding takes root. I am a vapor.
“Truth endures.” My prayer is reverent and full. Humility bathes me.
and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun.
On a bough, perched above a thousand miles of wilderness, a mourning dove cries. Her plaintive voice a melancholy lament. The sound echoes in the crevasses and canyons, followed by silence. The creature looks about, and calls again. No reply. I approach. Clouds are reflected in the wetness the sheens its eye. For a moment it watches me. Then, in a resigned motion, it falls. I gasp and lunge to catch the bird. It disappears, opening gray wings and vanishing into uncertainty. I am crippled by a pressing weight.
I start to weep.
“Sacrificial love.” My memory is soiled by guilt. Unworthiness haunts me.
and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
A fragrance moves on the breeze, soft, inviting. I stumble forward to a solitary wash overflowing with open lilies and rich grasses. Splendorous colors arc and sway, each moving as the draft wills. Their combined motion is a genuflecting crowd in awe before the Lord of Lords. Royal robes and fine jewelry can’t adorn them in more spectacular apparel. Their perfume is incense lifted to the heavens, a holy sacrifice burning on an alter of stone. I’m led to be a part of the offering.
I wade into the midst of my brothers, inhaling a sacred essence. I stroke petals of red, purple, and gold, feel leaves soft against my flesh. Near-perfection refined in a fallen world. My spirit surges. An epiphany.
“Am I not loved more than these?” I choke on the thought, the acceptance of truth. “Forgiven by the God of all nature through His blessed son?”
Creation resonates His reply.
“Savior!” I fall to my knees in fervent prayer. Peace fills me.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; … and His name will be called Prince of Peace.
Psalms 78:24 NASB
Ecclesiastes 8:17 NASB
Luke 3:22 NASB
Isaiah 9:6 NASB
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