[#pictureLent] March 15: BEAUTIFUL

By Rev. Nico Romeijn-Stout
St. John United Methodist Church
Anchorage, AK


First, read Psalms 16:11

My mother has a theory that there are mountain people and ocean people. When we need to be outside and witness beauty to soothe our souls, we gravitate towards either mountains or oceans. 

I am a mountain person. When my soul needs beauty, and rest, and rejuvenation, I go to the mountains.

Being in Alaska, that’s pretty easy. I wake up and watch the sun rise over the Chugach mountains out my living room window. When I take a day off, there are more mountains to climb than I can count.  

God desires fullness in life and teaches us the way of life that will lead to fullness. This is what the psalmist is celebrating.

When we allow ourselves to be led by God, when we follow in the way that leads to life, this is when we come into the presence of God, overflowing with beauty and celebration.

Allowing myself to be led solely by God is, admittedly, something I can be pretty bad at. A year ago while I was busy making plans for my life and career, completely unbeknownst to me, God was laying the groundwork to call me to ministry in Alaska.

Sure I was a little bit annoyed that God was, yet again, ruining my pretty good plans. Sure I had angst about moving to an unknown place. But God’s plans were yet again far better than my own. 

Being willing to follow the way of life God was attempting to teach me (I’m still not sure I got it) has led to so much unexpected joy and beauty entering my life. Joy and beauty that extends beyond just the mountains too.

One of these days, maybe I can learn what God is trying to teach me about the way of life.

Prayer: O Divine Wisdom, open our minds to allow you to show us the path of life. Reveal your beauty to us, fill our souls with your presence, that they might overflow out into the world. Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1. Where do you go when your soul needs beauty or soothing? (Are you a mountain person, ocean person, or something else?)
2. What does it mean to you for God to teach you the way of life?
3. Have you had experiences in your life when you have realized God has been leading you to unexpected beauty?