Sunday, August 31, 2014

Satisfying our thirst

The prophet Jeremiah refers to the Lord as the "fountain of living water."  To a desert people, water was a constant thought and need.  No wonder the Hebrew Bible contains so many metaphors of longing for God as we long for water. The thirst for God, conscious or subconscious, is universal. Christ offers us the way to quench that thirst with the same living water he offered the Samaritan woman. His offer is not abstract or wistful; it is not a one time offer, but remains "on the table" for us. It is real if we will only make/take the time to be Present to His Presence.

Sperry Glacier, Sperry Chalet Glacier National Park

Sperry Glacier, Sperry Chalet Glacier National Park

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Great Commandments

One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22: 35 - 40

For all our time spent on erudite theology, creeds, and doctrines, here is God's foundational statement given to Moses four thousand years ago.  It has not changed since then and never will.  The statement is magnificent in its simplicity and directness. Only we mortals, throughout the centuries, in our egos and desires for independence and societal idols, find it difficult to accept and follow.

These two photo Scriptures reference the intensity of the call to the great commandments.

Fawns on the Salmon River, ID

Washington coast, Olympic Peninsula

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The waters of Glacier National Park above Sperry Chalet

Glacier National Park is filled with waters--streams, waterfalls, lakes.  Hiking from Sperry Chalet to Lake Ellen Wilson and to the Sperry Glacier, we enjoyed an absolute abundance of water. Snow was melting, and sounds and sights of water captivated our senses!

Akaiyan_Lake, Sperry_Glacier

Lake Ellen Wilson, Sperry Chalet

Mountain goats on the way to Sperry Glacier

Akaiyan_Lake, on the way to Sperry Glacier--look carefully and you
will see a ptarmigan in the bottom right

on the way to Sperry Glacier--overwhelming waters of life and joy!

above Lake Ellen Wilson, three miles from Sperry Chalet

falls on the way to Sperry Glacier

Sunday, August 17, 2014

There is a wideness in God's mercy

There's a wideness in God's mercy
like the wideness of the sea;
there's a kindness in his justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
and more graces for the good;
there is mercy with the Savior;
there is healing in his blood.

For the love of God is broader
than the measure of man's mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we should take him at his word;
and our life would be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord.

Words: Frederick William Faber, 1862

Shi_Shi_beach, Olympic_National_Park, Neah_Bay

Third_Beach, La Push, Olympic_National_Park

Saturday, August 9, 2014

He fills my life with good things

Psalm 103

A psalm of David.

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

Sometimes in the early morning hours when I wake up and worries keep my mind from sleep, I let this Psalm pour over me. I relax, and know He is with me, and with all of us. 
Sperry Glacier, Sperry Chalet, Glacier National Park

Little Matterhorn, Sperry Glacier, Glacier National Park

Friday, August 8, 2014

The second day at Sperry Chalet. Hiking to the Sperry Glacier

One of the greatest day hikes one can experience heads up four miles  and 1500 feet from Sperry Chalet,  over Comeau Pass into the high boulder and lake expanse below Sperry Glacier.  The views of of the massive, magnificent back country of Glacier National Park sweep the eyes up into infinity.

However, the journey up there is most memorable.  The trail switches back through six levels of beauty--musical waterfalls and streams of multiple sizes, wildflowers that call the eye to linger, animals like mountain goats, marmots, pikas, ptarmigan, rocks of incredible sizes, shapes, and colors.

Coming back down, Meg and I simply meandered, trying as best possible to extend the day and intensify our memories.

waterfall on hike from Sperry Chalet to Sperry Glacier.  Look closely to see the mountain goat midway up the rocks

Meg on rock stairs at Comeau Pass

One of the hiking levels on the way to Sperry Glacier

another level of the Sperry Glacier hike

Little Matterhorn, Glacier National Park, below Sperry Glacier (Note all the colors in the rocks!)

Can you find the ptarmigan that Meg is hiking past?

The beargrass was everywhere!

Crossing one of the snowfields above Sperry Chalet

On top of the world in the Sperry Glacier, Glacier National Park area

a typical section of of the Sperry Glacier hike

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sperry Chalet Redux

The siren call of fresh air and vast vistas, far from the crowds of Glacier National Park, brought us back to Sperry Chalet for a second summer. After last year's two night stay, Meg and I decided that we needed an extra day of hiking from the Chalet, so we opted for three nights this time.  We also invited our New Hampshire family--younger son Michael and his wife Sara-- to join us. The Chalet does not have any electricity and the rooms have no running water. We shared a room together with easy going banter, and easy communication.

The Chalet was constructed in 1914 by the Great Northern Railroad to bring tourists to the Park on its railroad. The railroad turned the Chalet over to the park service in 1950, and it is now run by a concessionaire which as been family run since 1954.

"Chalet" is glorified title for a beautiful two story rock and beam structure with twenty basic rooms. It provides an easy way to spend time in the back country.  All one needs to do is hike 6.5 miles and gain 3300 feet from Lake McDonald, packing in clothes and personal gear.  Neither tent nor sleeping bag is needed, and wonderful food is provided in the dinning hall, cooked over propane stoves.

We enjoyed two outstanding day hikes.  This set of pictures show our first hike to Lake Ellen Wilson.  The bear grass filled the meadows and rocky ridges, stretching the eye and the imagination.  Mountain goats periodically interrupted our hike, watching us with curious expressions, and posing nicely for pictures. These views opened heart, mind and soul, and the lake also refreshed the body with a cold swim.

meadow above Lake Ellen Wilson

Mountain goats,  Lake Ellen Wilson

Sunset, Lake McDonald, Sperry Chalet

Sperry Chalet

On the way to Lake Ellen Wilson

Bear grass and waterfalls above Lake Ellen Wilson

Lake Ellen Wilson

Lake Ellen Wilson

Meg returning to Sperry Chalet from hike

Sunset, Sperry Chalet, Lake McDonald

Sara and Michael reading in front of Sperry Chalet

cliffs above Sperry Chalet

Meg and Michael hiking through bear grass to Sperry Chalet

Sunset, Sperry Chalet

Meg at start of trail to Sperry Chalet