“There’s no spiritual life that does not involve, does not start, intimately and inescapably, with the Earth. That is not enriched and sustained by the Earth. That doesn’t depend on the Earth for reawakening, rejuvenation, and renewal, for restoration and forgiveness, for life and love. Without contact with the natural world, our faith and spirituality are dangerously incomplete. No Earth, no faith.”                                                                                                                                                                       Fletcher Harper

“Do you bow your head when you pray or do you look
up into that blue space?
Take your choice, prayers fly from all directions.
And don’t worry about what language you use,
God no doubt understands them all.
Even when the swans are flying north and making
such a ruckus of noise, God is surely listening
and understanding.”

                                                                        Mary Oliver

This week I leave for Glacier National Park. I go with much anticipation and not a little trepidation. My unease is rooted in fears about my physical capacity to hike and explore with a bum knee (an old injury from my glory days in High School football) and an aging body that is not as agile and athletic as I like to imagine myself to be. I do not want my limitations to prevent me from the full experience of the beauty and holiness of this sacred place.

There is another line from a Mary Oliver poem (obviously she is my favorite) that:

“Though time is draining from the clock and your walk,
that was confident and quick,
has become slow.
So be slow if you must,
but let the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved,
deeply and without patience.
Let God and the world
know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.”

I am seeking to let my heart love deeply and impatiently for all of Creation.

I go to Glacier National Park with a community of Pastors I have been meeting with the past two years.

We have been wrestling with the meaning of ministry and mission through a pandemic of disease, division, and death. We have been supported in this endeavor by an organization called The Ministry Collaborative and the able leadership of Rev. David Feltman, a retired Executive Presbyter from Iowa. The trip to Glacier National Park is a gift to us from this project of the
Macedonian Ministry Foundation.

I go to Glacier National Park expecting to see, feel, and hear God in the mountains, lakes, glaciers, and trees. I think Fletcher Harper in the quote above has it right. I yearn for “the reawakening, rejuvenation and renewal” that comes with encountering God in the natural world. Especially these days where everything feels disconnected.

I, also, go to Glacier National Park to endeavor to share with you some of that adventure and by writing about it, possibly process what I am experiencing. Writing helps me reflect and ponder. My hope is that in some small way I may convey to you the gift that has been given.