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

Faithful love and truth have met; righteousness and peace have kissed. Truth springs up from the ground; righteousness gazes down from heaven. Yes, the Lord gives what is good, and our land yields its produce. Righteousness walks before God, making a road for his steps.

Psalm 85:10-13

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Think

I have hiked on so many trails in Yosemite National Park that it’s impossible to count them all: Glacier Point, Mirror Lake, Half Dome, North Dome, and all kinds of nameless places. Every trail I walk on exists because someone else walked on it before me: my father, the park ranger, John Muir, and the Yosemite tribe that no longer lives in the valley.

Reading our Psalm for today, I was struck by the image of God walking on a path that has been trod already. “Righteousness walks before God,” the psalmist writes, “making a road for his steps.”

Perhaps even God prefers a well-marked trail from time to time. And perhaps we are the ones who can make a path for God’s steps. Stepping out in faith doesn’t only mean following God. Sometimes it means blazing a trail, and making space for God where once there were only thorns.

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

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Pray

Merciful God, I want to be a trailblazer for your righteousness and peace. Guide my footsteps especially when the way seems unclear, and give me courage to walk on new paths so that others might follow. 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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