Today as I left work, I set my out-of-office reply, on nine different email accounts, to read “I will be out of the office until further notice with no access to email, telephone, radio, or Morse-code communications.” This message is posted once a year (when possible); and it is liberating. My leave form, a formal legal contract between myself and the US Government, has my Leave Destination listed as a trailhead (and, no, I am not going to tell you which one).
By the time you read this, I will be in the middle of the Pecos National Wilderness sitting the hurricane deck of an Idaho mountain horse I have never seen, exploring God’s Creation as He meant it. In a tangible, first-hand, sight-smell-sound-spiritual, sort of way.
For the next seven days, I will commune with nature, talk to Jesus, make memories, and continue a tradition as old as the stories of my family.
My Grandfather’s church was a mountain. Or a marsh. Or a meadow. He was a scientist. A wildlife biologist and a conservationist. He believed that religion got in the way of Creation and therefore refused to step inside a church, save for weddings and some funerals. His cathedrals were alpine cirques in which Rocky Mountain Sheep and marmots caroused and played. His altars were the snow-capped Wind River and Medicine Bow Mountain Ranges of his native Wyoming. He sought God where God was; and somehow he understood that Jesus was his Salvation.
Thus he taught me, in his way, to respect the Creator, to understand our Dominion, and to conserve that which is granted us by Divine Proclamation.
I have recognized, though, that I do need religion. Still, whenever life allows, I head to the high country. God’s Country. This year I had the fortune to draw an elk tag, along with my brother-in-law from Idaho, in the Pecos Wilderness. Tomorrow, I meet Alan and his pack mules and we will go where the job cannot find me. We will camp and explore and frolic (yes, I said frolic, as if I were a child; for that is how I will feel - giddy and liberated).
I will use this hunt as an excuse. Not only a selfish excuse to leave our crazy world behind for a little bit, but also as a spiritual excuse to be closer to my Creator and my Savior. When my church is the mountain, there are no emails; there are no phone calls; there are no interruptions; there are no excuses.
I must face my God as who I am, for I am stripped of the trappings of busy-ness and modernity.
I am humbled by those things greater than myself and I am forced to reflect on my shortcomings and my strengths. Generally, the list of the former is significantly longer than the latter.
This is how my family has lived, worked, and worshipped for generations. I learned these things from my Granddad, an unlikely minister, as he had learned them from his. So it has been passed, commune with the Creator, from generation to generation. And so, too, shall my children learn of His wonder, within His Splendor.
They will, with God’s Grace, learn the power of walking away in order to walk toward a personal relationship that I can only tell them about but they must experience.
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The Military Bible Stick is designed specifically to bring God’s Word to men and women deployed in the U.S. Military. It’s a small digital player pre-loaded with the New Testament and Psalms specifically selected for our troops. If you would like to support this opportunity beyond your regular giving, make a separate check to MCC, with “Military Bible Stick” in the memo. Contact Chris Willadsen for more information.
We have a terrific opportunity to spread God’s love and his Word to the international students attending UNM. MCC has been working with ISI for many years helping international students as they arrive in town for the new academic year.
Volunteers are needed in several capacities:
Picking students up at airport, temporary homestays, or helping with apartment hunting
Help at welcome center
Furniture movers, pickup and distribution
Prepare dish for volunteer/student lunches (sign-up sheets will be in the foyer)
These activities will run July 31-August 17, pick the times that work best for you. There are also opportunities that span the entire school year as well:
Assist with English program
Student friendship partners (meet monthly with student)
Please contact Vince Tidwell or Stan Schug for
more information or to get involved.
The door is open to share the Gospel in our public schools! Come and be a part of Bible Club! The trainings are from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. either
August 4th at Mountain Valley Church
August 11th at Monterey Baptist in Albuquerque.
Contact Gail Salazar at 980-6890 or email at
firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.