January 13, 2021
Lay Member, Annual Conference
Central United Methodist Church (Knoxville)
Tennessee Valley District
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all the deepest parts of the ocean.
8 Praise him, lightning and hail, snow and clouds.
Praise him, you stormy winds that obey him.
9 Praise him, all you mountains and hills.
Praise him, all you fruit trees and cedar trees.
Recently, I had a chance to spend a few hours with my brother, the first time since March. Perhaps, because of everything that has happened, we talked about missing travel. His favorite activity is riding his motorcycle to national parks and historical sites. My favorite trip he took was to the Arctic Circle.
We grew up in Knoxville, within sight of the Great Smoky Mountains, and eventually my parents built a cabin there. My mother handcrafted a sign near the inside rafters of the cabin quoting Psalm 121:1, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”
My brother has always carried that with him and feels that the mountains are his place of peace and strength. He spends a lot of time social distancing, riding in the mountains.
My family also spent some summer vacations going to beaches on the East Coast. While my brother has no particular love for that, my heart craves returning to “the ocean,” where I feel close to the strength and heart of God.
Both the creations of mountain and ocean remind us that God has created everything for us to enjoy and honor. They are reminders that his power is greater than anything we can imagine but is beautiful and loving.
May we spend the new year praising God for his creations and for his gifts.