Yesterday was the perfect day to drive up a logging road to see the larch trees in their golden glory. They turn later than the other trees in the valley. My friend and I were so overwhelmed by the beauty that surrounded us we stood on the road and shouted thanks to the Creator of this beauty. We drove through the woods, up a mountain side and across streams and rivers, down into deeply shaded valleys, up into the sun and were surprised at every turn by more beauty. It was a great day.
I feel a sort of desperate need lately to get outside and soak up as much colour and warmth as time will allow. It’s not just living in the moment; it’s trying to capture the memory of that moment to carry into dark days as a reminder that springtime and harvest will return. The season is so fleeting. Most of the poplars down by the lake that were so brilliantly coloured a couple of weeks ago stand bare now, their brown curled leaves returned to the ground in preparation for the next season. The snow and cold grey days of winter will soon be here.
I am struck by a passage I read in Psalm 146 this week about princes, in all their temporary glory, returning to the ground. “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;on that very day their plans come to nothing.”
We need “princes” – prime ministers, presidents, loyal opposition and houses of representatives. They are important administrators. But I wonder if so much of the panicky fear-based rhetoric of the past few weeks is based on the idea that princes can actually save us from all the potentially scary situations in our lives. I wonder if we have placed unrealistic expectations upon mere mortals, hoping they, with all their glowing publicity, will be something they cannot sustain.
If all we have to trust in is politicians and the wisdom of voters easily influenced by media of dubious integrity, no wonder so many people are upset and worried.
Maybe there is more. Maybe our trust can be in more than princes, who like the trees spring up and fall down. Maybe we can rely on the permanent Rock who is our refuge.
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.