April/May 2013 - Vol. 67
of Awesome Beauty,
by Roger Foley
As I write I am both working away from home, and taking some overdue leave. The location is stunningly beautiful, an isolated location, yet just thirty paces from the waters of a pristine ocean Bay. Everyday Veronica and I walk for miles and literally see almost no other people. Rather we see exquisite shells with each turn of the tide, fascinating driftwood, distant high peaks, and landscapes sculptured by wind and water.
We also enjoy the wildlife and have our regular daily visits from a large family of quail. They are fascinating to watch in their natural environment – they have a cycle to their busy days which includes a time of rest in a small hollow under trees but always with a couple of lookout guards ‘on watch.’ Then last night, near midnight, we heard what we had anticipated- the arrival of a family, or several families, of small penguins. They are seasonal and when they come they set up ‘house’ under the house. The noise lasts for hours as they seem to bicker and argue and grumble at each other. Then the sudden silence as somehow someone decides ‘we all sleep now’, and so they do. Tonight I will be on watch to see if I can spot them waddling out of the waves and heading uphill to the house!
Yes, Aotearoa is an awesome land of great natural beauty, but it is also a place in which you can so easily lose your life. Physically and spiritually.
When I climbed it I recall partnering with a German on the Lizard Ridge. We went well together except that as we neared the top we simply could not decide ‘which way’ for the final several hundred feet, and so we agreed to split left and right, me taking left. As I ascended it got harder and despite it not being a winter climb the higher I went the more ice sheen appeared on the rocks. Eventually I decided I should turn and descend but then I found I was in trouble as the ledge I was on was simply too narrow to make a turn. I started to feel anxious but then I heard a voice yelling at me and way down below me was the German. His direction had taken him into the actual crater, whereas my direction had stranded me on the inside face of a jagged peak known as the Shark’s Tooth, which you can easily see towards the right in the photograph. Thankfully my climbing buddy could see what I could not. I just needed to carry on as there was a way down to him that I could not see. He verbally guided me down into the crater. I learnt a lot from that climb into the classic crater of Mt. Taranaki.
Who owns your allegiance? Who watches over your family? Who forms your children’s path? Who has your commitment? Who owns your soul? And who do you call ‘Lord?’ Or is your allegiance in other directions- to a job, a career, a relationship, or to possessions and money?
Are you praying and seeking God? Do you spend time with and seek to form your children for God? We are given so much, let is not wander onto that broad road that leads to destruction.
Our country, in its headlong journey to redefine Christian Marriage, is fast taking that path, but we are called to embrace the narrow way and embrace the life of a disciple of the Lord. And so, as I enjoy the great natural beauty of this place on this quiet evening, I am ‘fed’ by the words from Judith:
‘Hope in any other have I never had save in Thee O God of Israel.’And the music of our brother, Ed Conlin:
‘There is a love stronger than death, a passion deeper than this life. In the heart’s purest longing, lives the Pearl of Great Price…’That is what I desire. Do you? Come, let us walk this way together.
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