My brother and his wife came all the way from Sweden to celebrate Thanksgiving with us last year. I took them to the Redwoods. It is always such a special place … majestic, peaceful, awe-inspiring beauty.
This is the last of my Oregon Garden collection. The Gaillardia above turned out to be one of my favorites. They are so bold and bright. It was definitely a blessing having the early morning rain.
This is the view of the main lawn from the Axis Fountain. They have quite a variety of gardens from Conifers and wetlands to a pet friendly and children’s garden.
The Day Lilies were abundant.
There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet.
My favorite was the Bosque Reflecting Ponds, a central plaza featuring four brick ponds and 40 planter boxes, each planted with a single tree.
The Signature Oak is an Oregon Heritage Tree that is more than 400 years old.
June was fortunately a perfect time to appreciate the bounty of color.
If you live in the Pacific Northwest and need to get away for a few days, I can easily recommend the Silverton area. The Oregon Garden Resort is a very nice place and they have frequent deals through Travel Zoo. They show movies in the Garden during the summer, in October scarecrows are displayed throughout.
And Silverton is a Happening Place with loads of activities planned throughout the year: A Bloom Quilt Show, Brewer’s Tasting Dinner at the Resort, Fireworks on the 4th of July, and a Car Show in August. Silver Falls State Park with the trail of ten falls is just a short drive. Here is a photo of Winter Falls (check out my earlier post: All Creation Sings His Praises).
So, just maybe I will see you there someday.
John Muir exclaimed, “As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”
I recently enjoyed hiking in the Silver Falls State Park in my home state of Oregon.
To be the first human on the trail in the early morning … approaching a waterfall … the sound of it crescendos as you draw nearer, causing an uncertain yet knowing anticipation … a reward difficult to express, … but certain praise to the Creator … for a beauty so serene that melts “self” and it’s concerns away. Time with my Creator is always well spent.
The “Winter Falls” is a 134 foot waterfall that relies on winter runoff and is its best in winter, spring, and early summer.
“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” (John Muir, 1938) ….. I wonder if John Muir was acquainted with Saint Francis. Happy Trails!
After Jesus identifies Judas as the betrayer and sends him out he addresses his disciples:
“Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son himself, and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.”
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jn. 13: 31-35)
This is painting I noticed walking through the Vatican Museum last year while “Chasing Francis of Assisi”. It caught my attention because I thought Pedro Cano was able to create the heart felt emotion of a loving embrace between two men, Pope Paul II and Cardinal Wyszynski.
I came from a family that never hugged or outwardly showed loving affection. But with time well spent around my wife’s family and in our “Christian family” circle I have come to truly appreciate a hug. We all need to be valued and accepted as we are. And I believe that we as individuals are beginning to love one another … no matter what church we are attending … nondenominational, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, Franciscan ….
But what about our various church denominations and their leadership? Are our churches really exhibiting the love of Christ? Does the “world” know the collective “body of Christ” by the love we have for one another? Are we working together in our communities to help the poor, feed the hungry, and house our homeless?? Could we not accomplish so much more for Jesus by working together?
Jesus is alive! “Peace be with you.”
Let us break bread together.
And love one another. “The most excellent way.”
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (I Cor. 13)
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
“This, this is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable friend,
Whose love is as great as his power,
And neither knows measure nor end.” Joseph Hart (1712-1768)
How can we understand such a deep, infinite, compelling, and transforming love? I can not but only begin to comprehend it in the very same love He has lavished on me through my family and friends. Thank you for your Living Word … may my will be washed in submission … yielding and rejoicing in Heaven’s best for the sake of others and for the glory of your name. Amen
Have a blessed Easter.
“STAY HERE AND KEEP WATCH WITH ME.”
Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane
“Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer.” (Matthew 26: 36-45)
This passage has always been a sobering one to me. I can so easily identify with the disciples. “The Spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” If ever there was an area in my spiritual life that needed improvement this is it. Becoming like Francis and shirking all possessions, wealth, and position would in some ways make this process easier …. but what a price! Certainly there must be a ‘middle road’ of sorts for a “post modern Christian” like myself.
As I embark on this ‘pilgrimage’ I am hoping that I will be able to balance the role of “photographer” and that of “pilgrim”. I hope to find (perhaps I will need to “make”) time to spend in prayer and meditation. I have set a goal of attempting spend all such time NOT thinking of ‘self’ but rather waiting in silence for what God puts on my heart. This will likely be very difficult.
We ‘pilgrims’ that are “Chasing Francis” all desire to become more and more like Jesus as we follow him. “Stay here and keep watch for us.”
Stand at the crossroads and look;
Ask for the ancient paths,
Ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
And you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16)
Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
So that we may walk in his paths. (Isaiah 2:3)
Teach me your way O Lord;
Lead me in a straight path. (Psalm 27:11)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge him,
And he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5&6)
I run in the path of your commands,
For you have set my heart free. (Psalm 119:32)
In the way of righteousness there is life;
Along that path is immortality. (Proverbs 12:28)
You have made known to me the path of life;
You fill me with joy in your presence,
With eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)