Although we no longer have services on Wednesdays regularly, we will have services midweek on special dates. Ascension Day was just such a date. We met in the Cathedral at noon SLT instead of in the chapel. I took the opportunity to share something I had written some years ago. The full document is given for those who are interested in reading more. A trek in the mountains
The readings were Psalm 47, Daniel 7:9-14, Acts 1:1-11, Luke 24:44-end.
It is a beautiful spring day and you are equipped with backpack and strong boots ready for a trek in the mountains. The paths winding out of the valley look very easy but you have been warned that things get trickier as you climb. So you have a guide with you as advised. You have also bought the guide book. It is full of tips on how to get the most out of your trek, things to avoid, the flora and fauna and the names of the various places you will get to. There are sections written by others who have made the trek before you, describing what they saw and how they felt. You wonder, as you read it in the valley, whether you will ever reach those high peaks they describe and see those views for yourself.
And so you set off full of energy. The path is wide and passes through flower dotted meadows. You take time to look around and drink it all in. The sky is a beautiful blue, the sun is shining and the birds are singing. The air smells fresh and clean. There is room for your guide to walk beside you on the path and as you walk you talk. So quickly he moves from being a stranger to someone with whom you have an easy relationship. You chat about anything and everything, nothing seems barred from this conversation, even your innermost hopes and fears.
After a while the path begins to climb into the foothills. It narrows and become less even underfoot. Your guide walks behind you, still talking to you. If you strike off on a wrong path he says: ‘This is the way,’ and puts you right. The harder walking makes you a little out of breath but it is a pleasant challenge. There is still time and energy left over to appreciate your surroundings. Your guide points out things of interest to you and you read extracts from the guide book at intervals.
Then comes the time when the path becomes very steep. There are loose stones underfoot and treading on them incorrectly risks a twisted ankle despite you boots. You have no choice but to keep your eyes fixed firmly on the ground so that you can place your feet carefully. Looking around is out of the question. Every now and again you hear your guide telling you to move to the right or the left. You don’t know why, as you have no overview of where you are heading, but you do as he says. Somehow he never seems to get out of breath, whereas the best you can do is reply ‘OK’ as you follow his instructions. (more…)