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Interesting Times – A Reflection

March 12, 2020
A Bull Elk resting at the Church after a sparring match during Rut.

The first time Denise and I experienced Rut in the Rocky Mountains we were amazed! The “mating season” for Elk (Rut) is a sight to behold. In October of 2016, I was walking to my car when I saw the local herd hanging out in the churches open space. As I watched and was simply still with the herd, I saw this fellow. He was exhausted and trying to rest and regain his strength after going a few rounds with another Bull. Interestingly enough, the Bull he had been sparring with was not too far away from him. You can see him in the upper center of this photo.

This week I can definitely relate to the Bulls. Exhausted from emotional and spiritual work. Exhausted by the inundation of the updates concerning the Pandemic (COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus). In the midst of it all, we are trying to make good decisions that care for the most vulnerable in our congregation and community.

When you watch the news it quickly devolves into panic and fear mongering. In the flood of all the 24/7 pundits, you can quickly lose sight of the individual and personal nature of the world and life and struggle. I came across this quote from a letter Thomas Merton wrote to his friend and future biographer, Jim Forest. Jim wrote two books based upon his work with his mentor and friend. The first was Living with Wisdom: A Life of Thomas Merton. The second was The Root of War Is Fear: Thomas Merton’s Advice to Peacemakers. As they discussed everything from Civil Rights to the Vietnam War to the Nuclear Arms Race, they took discussions from a macro level to a micro and individual level.

In the letter, Merton shared the following: In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything. (The Hidden Ground of Love: Letters on Religious Experience and Social Concerns)

Merton also spent a lot of time in the natural surroundings of the Abbey and his Hermitage. In those moments, he absorbed the beauty of God’s creation and the message of our interconnectedness with each other and the world.

My prayer dear reader is that such relationships can heal souls and draw all of God’s creation together. From our lips to God’s ear, may we pray.

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