As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will seek to post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer.
Saturday 25th July 2020
‘Slipping & stumbling’
The highest Munro Scotland is of course Ben Nevis and the ascent of the mountain makes for a challenging but rewarding day out. It is also a potentially dangerous day out. Due to its location on the West Coast weather conditions can change within minutes. It is possible to have warm gentle sunshine at the base, but at the summit be caught out in storm force winds. There are two classic routes to ascend the summit. The most popular and well known is the mountain path or tourist route – a relatively straight forward 17 km slog, with the top part of the path being littered with stones and boulders.
The alternative route is Ben Nevis by the Carn Mor Dearg Arete. This is one the finest and most spectacular routes in the country. It is still a long hard walk, but takes the ridge running from Carn Mor Dearg up to the summit. And it is not for the unfit or the faint hearted! The route has also seen a number of fatalities, especially in winter. The ridge involves some scrambling and parts of it are very exposed giving a real sense of adventure. (See the attached picture!)
My own journey up Ben Nevis by the Carn Mor Dearg Arete took place many years when I was a lot younger and fitter. I was taken up with a friend who was an experienced rock climber and we had some spectacular views on North Face of Ben Nevis, till the clouds closed in. I still retain one memory of the day. Climbing up the steep and narrow ridge, with our visibility reduced by dense cloud I stepped onto a large flat boulder which moved. And when the boulder moved, I froze!
A song of ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Stumbling and slipping on the hills can be a scary experience, especially when all the stands between you and ground is an almost vertical six hundred drop! But it can happen to anyone. I have even seen someone airlifted by a Sea King helicopter from the top of Bennachie after slipping on ice.
One of the promises of Psalm 121 is that God will not let your foot slip or permit you to stumble. (These are interesting words especially to a keen hill walker, although I once badly sprained my ankle by tripping over a kerb in Craigiebuckler !)
The promise is reminiscent of Ephesians 6:11 & 13 – that the believer is to find a place to stand, and this can only be done by looking to the Lord and trusting the One who will not allow your foot to be moved. This is key for understanding the meaning of the Psalm. For those who put their trust in Jesus Christ, God promises to keep you and guard you as you go on your journey of life, and as you return home. As you go out and come in. As you face the dangers of the day and of the night.
The list of promises here is not meant to suggest that those who walk in the shelter of God will face no harm or that nothing ill will befall them. Rather, these promises are meant to remind us of God’s presence and protection including our awareness of it. And in the mystery of God’s providence and will, how we stand in grace (Romans2), courage and strength (1 Corinthians 16:13), and in the Lord (Philippians 4:1) and in the perfect and complete will of God (Colossians 4:12).
Try and remember the times God has helped you stand firm…
When you are tempted
When you are weary and discouraged
When you are hurting and in pain
When you are bewildered and confused and don’t know where to turn
When you begin to lose faith
Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church
In our prayers today, let us remember…
The people we love, especially those going through difficult times.
The people we do not know, whose suffering is silent and unknown.
The church - as we begin prepare and plan to reopen that it will not be a return to buisness as usual, but a time of spiritual renewal.
For our mission – to connect meaningfully with the communities we are called to service.
Ourselves – for a closer walk with Jesus
A Mountaineers Prayer
Gird me with the strength of Thy steadfast hills,
The speed of Thy streams give me!
In the spirit that calms, with the life that thrills,
I would stand or run for Thee.
Let me be Thy voice, or Thy silent power,
As the cataract, or the peak, —
An eternal thought, in my earthly hour,
Of the living God to speak!
Clothe me in the rose-tints of Thy skies,
Upon morning summits laid!
Robe me in the purple and gold that flies
Through Thy shuttles of light and shade!
Let me rise and rejoice in Thy smile aright,
As mountains and forests do!
Let me welcome Thy twilight and Thy night,
And wait for Thy dawn anew!
Give me the brook’s faith, joyously sung
Under clank of its icy chain!
Give me of the patience that hides among
The hill-tops, in mist and rain!
Lift me up from the clod, let me breathe Thy breath,
Thy beauty and strength give me!
Let me lose both the name and the meaning of death,
In the life that I share with Thee!
(Lucy Larcom, 1885)
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
you will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
now and forever.
May God the Father
prepare your journey,
Jesus the Son
guide your footsteps,
The Spirit of Life
strengthen your body,
The Three in One
watch over you,
on every road or mountain path
that you may follow.
Go in peace.