Pause

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

John Muir in Our National Parks (1901)

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Listen

Moses writes about the righteousness that comes from the Law: The person who does these things will live by them. But the righteousness that comes from faith talks like this: Don’t say in your heart, “Who will go up into heaven?” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “Who will go down into the region below?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the message of faith that we preach).

Romans 10:5-8

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Think

The day after I hiked to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, I bought a t-shirt. It read: “I made it to the top! 17 miles round trip, 4,800 foot elevation gain.” I had coveted this shirt for years and now it was rightfully mine! I could walk around the campsite, around my school, around my house, and people would know my true merit.

Paul, in today’s reading from Romans, reminds us that it is pointless to ask questions such as “Who will go up into heaven?” or “Who will go down into the region below?” In my thirteen-year-old mind, I had done both of these things — I had done the impossible by climbing Half Dome.

Instead, Paul reminds us that faith isn’t always about heroic situations — heaven or “the region below,” mountaintop or valley. Rather, faith is something that we live out in the everyday. Stepping out in faith means rolling out of bed every morning with the conviction that “the word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.”

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

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Pray

Almighty God, you are with me in the morning when the sun shines through the blinds and my alarm clock is on snooze. Help me to appreciate the challenges of today and to seize every opportunity to step out in faith. Amen.

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Go

I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
No turning back, no turning back

The world behind me, the cross before me,
The world behind me, the cross before me,
The world behind me, the cross before me,
No turning back, no turning back

from “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus,” author unknown

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

Heidi Thorsen Oxford is a recent graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City (MDiv, ’17) and an alumna of the Episcopal Service Corps, St. Hilda’s House. She is currently on the east coast pursuing work as a hospital chaplain, but home in her heart will always be California — especially Yosemite National Park. She lives with her husband, Will Oxford, and their two beautiful cats.

Walking Towards Morning: Here I Am to Worship

Ken Medema

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