Beautiful Sameness

There’s a place in the Colorado Rockies at an elevation of about 11,000 feet that’s a kind of touchstone for our family. It’s a high ridge on the West Spanish Peak overlooking a broad, verdant valley. Over the years we’ve fondly referred to this overlook as the Sound of Music spot. Most years we make our way there, weary pilgrims winding up the trail together. Parched souls eager to drink in such soul-restoring grandeur.

Well-trodden trails dotted with glistening granite rocks lead us up the same path year after year. We’re greeted by ancient lichen-covered lava walls descending the height of the great mountain like spokes in a giant wheel. On our way up we cross brightly arrayed meadows then find ourselves enshrouded in dark forests of fir and pine.

At the higher elevations, thick forests give way to weathered and gnarly trees that remind us of the ancient Ents or giant tree shepherds in the Lord of the Rings. In the thick quiet we expect one to speak, its melodic voice breaking the silence for a moment before the wind carries it away.

There’s a beautiful sameness to this place. The stability of the mountains, the predictable busyness of the humming meadows, the quiet beauty of the aspen forests and fern beds, and the distinct fragrance of the conifers remind us of the God that created these places. A God that is unchanging, present and working in all things. The God “who by his strength established the mountainsPsalm 65:6.

I first walked these trails as a young girl with my parents and siblings. Over the years much has changed in my life—the ebbs and flows, beginnings and endings, heights and depths, joys and sorrows of any life long-lived. But no matter what changes occur, the mountain changes little. It grounds me and reminds me that God is God—faithful, good and greater than those things which sometimes preoccupy or overwhelm us.

We need these places in life. Places that root us in our never-changing God, that give us perspective, that remind us of God’s greatness and our own smallness—each of us so very small in light of our God, but deeply significant to him. Created purposefully and lovingly, to live out our own unique story in relationships of love with God and one another.

The world is changing quickly around us. And in our quickly changing world, the God who loves us reminds us that he is the God of beautiful sameness. He will never change. He will never leave us or forsake us. “The mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you” Isaiah 54:10.

Looking for a place that embraces God’s beautiful sameness, a touchstone in this ever changing world? Join us for a weekly mini-retreat on Sundays at 10:00 am or a guided day retreat at Trinity Lakeside Abbey:

Published by Rev. Dr. Markene

ACNA priest, spiritual director and author

2 thoughts on “Beautiful Sameness

  1. That was lovely! I’ve read this multiple times to soak it all in and each time it warms and calms my heart and soul. And probably partly because I’m a mountain girl and Hobbit lover, so it really speaks to me:). Thank you for sharing your gift with us:):)

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