Thoughts on a Trail

Still
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There are days here in Alberta when the weather is just about as perfect as one can imagine. A summer filled with marauding bands of thunderstorms breaks open to a morning without parallel. Dew shines on the grass. Between the shelter of overhanging trees, beams of warm sunlight fall on the trails along the river. A curious young coyote hears a train in the distance and peeks out of the bushes. An early morning run becomes a reverie of wonder.

Runners and walkers smile or exchange greetings. Among them are soldiers on fitness runs. There’s often nearly a kilometer between the leaders and those at the back of the pack. They send word all the way down the line—“Runner!”—and make way for those approaching. I pray for them and their families as we pass. They may be headed to places where it’s safe to run only “inside the wire,” and no patrol is routine or free from danger.

Many of those on the trail are seniors, some striding briskly, others more inclined to stroll. I read recently that our seniors are very “green.” They lead the way when it comes to an awareness of environmental issues and the need to conserve and preserve this beauty. We need them to remind us of the pointlessness of excess and consumerism.

Skateboarders roll by, perfectly balanced till a wheel hits a twig or pebble. But after a jump and a few running steps, they recover and roll on.

While running I like to think about the day Jesus rose from the dead. It was full of running. Jesus’ friends ran from his grave, baffled that his body was gone. Jesus appeared to them alive, and they ran to tell others. His resurrection is the reason for our solid Christian hope that one day all of creation will be made as new and fresh as these breathtaking summer mornings.

Right now we hold our breath for fear there will be news of more casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq. We weep with those who have lost loved ones. We see destruction of creation’s beauty. We see many people around the world who are starving. We know of many who are afraid of or bored with or arrogant toward God.

But Jesus is Lord of all creation. He calls us to turn our lives over to him, to work for peace, to comfort those who mourn, to feed the hungry, to care for his creation like our city’s gardening crews do, and to witness to his grace and truth. He gives us glimpses of his beauty for our encouragement, along with this promise to hold on to: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. . . . They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isa. 40:31).

About the Author

Rev. John Luth is pastor of the Christian Reformed Church of St. Albert, Alberta.

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