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Living Simply Can Be a Blessing August 1, 2010

Posted by Ventura Dreamer in Blogroll.
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Approaching our Tuolumne Meadows campsite

Approaching our Tuolumne Meadows campsite

As some readers know, I begin my mornings by reading scripture and devotional passages that follow the Revised Common Lectionary, a method of covering the entire Bible in three years.  The devotional writings come from the Upper Room Disciplines, an annual collection of thoughts and guided meditations by various writers assigned to each week of that particular year. This past week I read and meditated from inside my tent or under the pines of our campsite.  The readings covered a peek at how God may view his human creatures – like a loving parent who sometimes throws his hands up in despair yet loves his children unconditionally (Hosea 11:1-11).  From there, Psalm 107:1-9,43 reminded me to praise and thank God for that “steadfast” love and constant support.  Moving to Paul’s letter to the Colossians (3:1-11) and the Gospel account by Luke of how Jesus explained right living (Luke 12:13-21) it all became so solidly clear as I got to live out the message on our recent camping trip.

It has been said many, many times that we are blessed by “mountaintop experiences”, but thank God that being on a mountain is not a prerequisite!  Getting away from daily responsibilities and distractions certainly helps, but I know that sitting on my back porch and looking out at my koi pond and plants and flowers each morning  – or even just sitting quietly in my living room or bed – is enough of a “retreat” to gain some quiet and sense of God’s calming power.

Campground singing bird

Campground singing bird

But this past week we camped in Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows campground; we hiked, Tom and Scott flyfished, and I photographed the incredibly majestic mountain peaks and the tiny details of wildflowers and gravel.  We lived without running water, indoor heating, or electricity, yet I felt we couldn’t have lived better in a five-star hotel.  We had food, shelter, and friends to share the week with, and we were surrounded by beauty that can only be experienced individually.  So after coming home and taking my first shower in nearly six days, I read Luke’s account of a conversation between Jesus and someone in the crowd who had come to listen to him teach.  I immediately thought of the bumper sticker that says something like “he who dies with the most toys wins” and contrasted it with Jesus’ admonition to Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.Possessions seem so unimportant compared to the ability to hike through high mountain meadows, splash in crystal clear snow-fed streams, hear songbirds in the trees and rocks, and see hundreds of colorful wildflowers and tiny trees growing out of rocks and water!  We had a tent to sleep in, a campfire to keep us warm after dinner, and enough food and water to keep us comfortably alive.  We have our health, eyes, ears and senses with which to experience God’s incredible creation, and bodies fit enough to walk for miles through majestic and awesomely beautiful places.  Moreover, we have resources to travel from our home (an awesomely beautiful coastal environment) to trailheads throughout the state, country, and beyond.   We are blessed beyond measure, and like “the birds of the air” and “the lilies of the field”, we have no worries if we don’t need mansions, the latest fashions, or luxurious cars to make us happy.

Lyle Fork of the Tuolumne River

Lyle Fork of the Tuolumne River

Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?’ or “What will we drink?’ or “What will we wear?’ . . . indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33)

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