I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers flow in the right direction, will the earth turn as it was taught, and if not how shall I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven, can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows can do it and I am, well, hopeless …

from “I Worried” by Mary Oliver (2010)

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Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear. Wolf and lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but the snake—its food will be dust. They won’t hurt or destroy at any place on my holy mountain, says the Lord.

Isaiah 65:24-25

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Being from the mountains of North Carolina, my ears always prick up a little bit when our sacred texts mention mountains of any kind. We hear Isaiah describe God’s Holy Mountain, where the wolf and lamb live together in harmony and the snakes only have the dust to eat. I feel safe in saying that I’ve been on several mountains in my life that I consider holy, although I must have missed where the mountain lions and sheep were hanging out around the campfire singing “Kumbaya.”

In all seriousness, whether it was a youth retreat, hiking with friends, or just driving up to a scenic overlook to clear my head, mountains have played a big part in my spiritual journey.

Unfortunately, over the years I have seen the mountains I love come under attack from forces that wish to destroy that beauty or make a profit off of it. As I wait for the appearance of God’s Holy Mountain, I feel called to protect my own mountains as I look forward to that holy future.

Will Oxford

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God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, look down upon your creation, from the tallest mountain to the smallest grain of sand. I ask your protection of these creations, making me a steward of all that has been granted to me. Amen.

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… Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

from “I Worried” by Mary Oliver (2010)

Will Oxford

Will Oxford lives in New Haven, CT with his wife Heidi and their two beautiful cats. Will works at a local grocery store, ministering to the people of the world by being a smiling face and listening ear, as well as serving up free cups of coffee.

Kinderszenen, Op. 15: 7. Träumerei

Garry Bailey

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