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Following Jesus

Thoughts from the Top of Whiteface Mountain

November 6, 2018 by

I was in the Adirondacks the other weekend, at the top of Whiteface Mountain – at 4867 feet, one of the high peaks. The stunning view of other peaks towering over Lake Placid, the brilliant orange and yellow of the maples contrasting with the dark balsam firs, the warmth of the sun melting last night’s ice in wet patches – I could only give praise to God for such splendor.

View of the Adirondack Mountains

I thought of the words of Psalm 148:

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike,
old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

The psalms help give voice to our joy and wonder in God’s creation, and they offer comfort in times of sadness. But they also point us beyond ourselves. As Eberhard Arnold, founder of the Bruderhof, wrote in a 1916 publication:

The character and significance of the psalms lie in their focus. Their praise and honor of God the Creator, their worship of the Lord of Lords, directs our gaze away from our own lives to center on God. … What freshness and life would come to the hymns of our present church if we always had the courage to bring the soaring, uplifting praise of the psalms to the fore instead of music that focuses on personal experience and our own emotions. In our days we need a strong and living worship of the Creator. We need a clear attitude to his creation, to the God who rules heaven and earth; we need to broaden our horizon so that our spiritual life is lifted from the narrowness of self-preoccupation into the whole scope of the greatness of God. We are converted to the living God. Therefore the life of each one who is truly converted merges – and should merge far more, should merge completely – into this God, and take part in everything that is God’s work.

Amen to that.

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About the author

Emmy Maendel

Emmy Maendel

Emmy Maendel, an author with a particular interest in Bruderhof history, writes a regular blog post featuring timely...

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