Saturday, December 9, 2017

Advent 2B 2017

In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD:
Get you up to a high mountain

Fr. Dale Matson

Mountains are frequently associated with God in the Holy Scriptures. Often it is a pivotal time in the history of God’s people. Noah’s Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat. Abraham took his son Isaac to Mount Moriah intending to sacrifice him. Mt Moriah is also the site of Solomon’s Temple.  Mt Sinai (Horeb) was where God revealed Himself to Moses and where the Ten Commandments were given. It was Mount Nebo where Moses struck the rock to provide water. It was Mount Zion where David built his palace and it was the Mount of Olives where Jesus delivered His sermon and where He was arrested. Mount Tabor is traditionally understood to be the place of His transfiguration. Even one of God’s names, El Shaddai can be translated “God of the Mountain” (NJB).

I was born and raised in Michigan where my family also visited the Porcupine Mountains near Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula. As a child, they seemed imposing at about 1,600’ of elevation. In the mid 1960’s a friend of mine Dan McCosh and I drove to California from Michigan in June and I saw mountains, real mountains, for the first time. As we approached Loveland Colorado, The Rockies emerged immediately and abruptly from the plains.  My heart nearly stopped as we anticipated driving over Loveland Pass at nearly 12,000’, my hands immediately began to sweat. There was still considerable snow along the sides of the road as we crossed the Continental Divide. This view of the Rocky Mountains approaching Loveland made such an indelible impression on me that I knew someday I would live in an area where I could view and travel in God’s glorious mountains.
Now, in my twenty fifth year in Fresno CA, when the air is clear I can see much of the central Sierra Nevada Mountains. The mountains offer year-round recreation and I am there once a week. There is no way to describe how my spirit is elevated each time I drive east into the mountains to begin a new adventure with friends or in the company of my Airedales Susie and Duke who change from pets to companions who especially enjoy the winter snow. I also spent four of the best days of my life with my sons as we backpacked a portion of the John Muir Trail together. Hearing them talking together as men around a campfire as I fell asleep in my tent was as beautiful a sound as any waterfall or river.
These mountain places are where I fellowship with God too for it was He who made these things and us also.  It can at times be as intimate an occasion for me as when I proclaim the words of the Great Thanksgiving during the Holy Eucharist.

I am excited to take you with me as I travel to the mountains again in photographs I have taken that bring to mind the words of God.
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