In this blog post, a couple from the congregation shares two different takes on Wilderness.
I get a lot of spiritual joy visiting the desert steppes in the LT Murray Wildlife Reservation near Ellensburg. The Columbia Basalt beds were carved by the cataclysmic ice age floods, the Yakima River and constant wind. No matter which direction I turn I see wide open skies above vast treeless expanses covered with grass, arrowroot, balsamroot and sagebrush. I've seen elk, deer and bighorn sheep cross the plateaus. Delicate pink bitterroot flowers emerge in rocky washes blasted by heat and cold. Mountain Bluebirds startle up as I walk along the dirt road. Crushed sagebrush evokes so many memories and a feeling of returning. The warmth of the sun feels so good after soggy months in the Puget lowlands. How blessed I am to be able to see, hear, smell and feel these gifts of God today. I am do glad to be alive.
I don't think I'm closer to God in the wilderness than in my home or my city. I think of God as synonymous with all of the created world--everything, human-constructed or wild. I do happen to see different kinds of reminders of the primal creative force of God in different ways, including in how the homeless man is kind to me in downtown Seattle, in how a poor mother on a Mexican night train shared her small bit of food with me, and in the wild natural rocks, birds and trees of my dozens of hiking trails.
Perhaps I may sometimes feel closer to God when I'm in nature simply because it's easier there to forget the complicated messiness of my city life. But really, to me, God is in the elevator light that guides me to my job in the morning, in the doctor's prescription that cured me of the giardia that I contracted in the wilderness, in the memory of my loving, hard-working parents and in thinking about their thousands of ancestors before them, as much as in mountains and crashing ocean waves. As a conscious and sentient being alive in my place and time, I feel it is my duty to recognize God in everything, and I try to.
This blog includes thoughts from various contributors at Seattle First Baptist