The Hills Are Alive

You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy.
– Psalm 65:11-12 (NRSV)

The house where I grew up is purported to have been a speakeasy during Prohibition.

It’s not too hard to imagine. The house sits atop a hill along a rugged path (not a metaphor), as out-of-the-way and nearly inaccessible today as it was in the speakeasy days, when a rough wagon track climbed the hill and then continued its winding way along the mountain. A traveler would have had to be intent on that hilltop destination to choose such a difficult path.

In my childhood, I explored those old wagon tracks through the woods, but these days, much of the path is overgrown with brambles. Only deer and small wildlife can navigate it easily.

But oh! There are wild raspberries too along that way, when the season is right. Blueberries and teaberries if you know where to look. Blushing mountain laurel and swinging vines.

The overgrown wagon tracks may be intimidating to wagons and wanderers alike, but God’s wild richness on the trail is no less abundant.

Which is a lesson I’m trying to hold onto in these days when life seems determined to take the most difficult path possible: The wildness of the way overflows with beauty and bounty, even when the path is rough. The tracks across the hills are dressed in God’s joy, even amidst the brambles.

Let your bounty, O God, be the source of my joy even when I am snagged by brambles. Let me recognize the beauty of your path even when the way is overgrown.

written for the Daily Devotional

Held

As far as the sky is stretched
from east to west,
I am held.

As deep as the tree is planted
from mystery to miracle,
I am held.

As long as time is sustained
from birth to death,
I am held.

As high as the wind is called
from whisper to storm,
I am held.

As close as the galaxy is bound
from cell to star,
I am held.

on Isaiah 42:5-6

Dwelling

If the winds howl and the lightning flashes its threat,
nevertheless I will be at home in the storm
so long as you are there.

If the stars burn and the meteors rain with abandon,
nevertheless I will be at home in the heavens
so long as you are there.

If the road extends endlessly and companions part ways,
nevertheless I will be at home on the journey
so long as you are there.

Go Tell It

Tell it, o mountain,
and say it, o hills,
that God is steadfast
always & everywhere.

Tell it, o river,
and say it, o streams,
that God is neverending
always & everywhere.

Sing it, o sunrise,
and shout it, o clouds,
that God is imaginative
always & everywhere.

Sing it, o sparrow,
and shout it, o raven,
that God is all-knowing
always & everywhere.

Tell it, o desert,
and say it, o plains,
that God is life-giving
always & everywhere.

Faithfulness

O God my God,
tune my heart
to follow You
like the day follows
the long peace of night,
like the sun follows
its course across the sky,
like the cloud follows
the inspiration of the wind,
like the maple follows
winter’s invitation to hibernate,
like the warbler follows
its instincts to migrate.
O God my only God,
so tune my heart.