reflection, Scenery

Consolation & Desolation

We had a magnificent view from our house in New Mexico with amazing sunsets. This first photo was taken just after sunset our third night there. The effect on the clouds is dramatic, giving them a red cotton candy appearance.

I took this second picture a mere 3 minutes later with a remarkable difference in the appearance of the clouds.

Similarly, consolation can turn to desolation quickly in our lives. Consolation, or times we are moving toward God, becomes desolation when we lose our focus on God. Fortunately, we don’t need to wait on the “sun” to rise, God is always there, waiting to “shine” on us!

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reflection, Scenery

Standing Out

This is a view of the Sandia Mountains, taken from inside a stone cabin/shelter built in the 1930s. The shelter was designed to blend in with the surroundings.

The idea of blending in can be a good one. Animals often try to blend into their environment as a mechanism of defense. Adolescents will go to great lengths to blend in (fit in) with peers. It feels comfortable to fit it.

On the other hand, we are called to be a light on lampstand and a city on a hill. The photo reminds me that while I am comfortable fitting it, I am called to stand out.

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reflection, Scenery

Oral traditions

This is the last photo I took on our trip to New Mexico before getting on the plane to come home. It is Red Rock in Jemez Springs. When I look at the photo, what I remember is the welcome center across the road. Inside the welcome center, there was a small museum for the Native American tribe that lived in the area.

It was very interesting to learn more about the history of the original people of New Mexico. I admit that I knew very little before our trip. One thing I learned was the importance of their oral traditions, handed down through many generations.

Oral traditions are also very important for Christianity, especially for the historical books of the Old Testament, the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and probably some of the epistles attributed to Paul. All were likely stories and messages that were told and re-told many times before they were written in the form we recognize as the Bible.

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reflection, Scenery

Monkey no climb

This is a photo of a tree that we saw on St Kitts. The spines along the trunk serve to prevent monkeys from climbing the tree to get the fruit. The common name of the tree is the sandbox tree, but it is also known as the monkey no climb tree.

For me, this is a reminder thank God opens doors and God closes doors. Best not to try going through closed doors!

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reflection, Scenery

Pictures of Infinite Beauty

Every so often, I’m looking through older photos, and I see one that I had completely forgotten. This photo was taken in Arches National Park a couple of years ago. At the extreme left in the photo, you can see part of the Fiery Furnace. In the distance are the La Sal Mountains. In between is the Salt Valley.

I had all but forgotten about this moment until I saw this photo. Then, a flood of memories came back to me. This was our first day in Moab, we had just hiked to Delicate Arch – the famous arch featured in Utah license plates. It was late afternoon and we wanted to see the Fiery Furnace before sunset. We were treated to spectacular colors with the sunset.

Let me paraphrase a quote from John Ruskin:

God is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.

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reflection, Scenery

Salt of the World

This is another photo taken on St John, USVI at the National Park. This is called the Salt Pond and if you look closely, you can see something white at the edge of the pond. This is salt which forms at the edges (and gives the pond it’s name). This happens because the pond is actually below sea level. So water from the sea gets in, but can not escape except by evaporation. When there are extended periods of time with no rain, the salt concentration get so high that the salt precipitates out. People actually come to this pond to collect salt and report that it “tastes good!” The red color is reportedly due to algae in the pond.

We are called to be salt, to provide “flavor” for the world. In our modern world, it is easy to overlook the value and importance of salt. I imagine the value of salt was more appreciated in New Testament times.

May we allow God to use us to provide “value” to those around us.

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