This morning pulled me out of bed before 6AM.  An uncharacteristic move I realize.  There have been two consistent reasons that I would wake before sunrise, one is delusion from fever and the other is hiking.  (No actually the former should read “work.”)  Today was a hiking day.  A dawn hike under some heavy drops of rain.  Thank You God!  

This meant that I got to wear my rain gear.  I love busting out the gear.  In this case my gear consisted of packable waterproof pants that I got for bike commuting in the rain and a long raincoat with lots of pockets.  Viva los pockets!  Pockets mean I can stuff a baby Bible, journal, pen, peanut butter sandwich, id, cell phone etc all on my person.  Yes!  And no, I didn’t use any of it.  (But what if there had been an injury?  I could have phoned for help, stopped the wound with the sandwich, found an encouraging Scripture for the situation and written it down for posterity.)

There were no injuries, but there was an amazing sunrise from below the rain clouds.  And I turned to look at the deep green tufted hilltops directly behind me to find a rainbow in the sky.  Yeah!  I won’t try to describe the sunrise except that the whole eastern view was veiled behind a screen of gold for a little while that brought to mind the use of color in the movie Hero.  (A marshal arts film that retells a story multiple times, each in a different color palette.  I recommend it.)  And what went through my head, as often does in such situations of beholding the Creator’s creation, was that this beautiful display of the most stunning art goes on day after day without nearly due appreciation.  I get this sort of sad sense of God putting on the best of shows for a terribly unobservant crowd.  Everyday all the time.  The real crescendos being sunrises, sunsets and storms.  So I practiced being attentive and just enjoying the show.  Oh yes, and I have to mention those portholes full of morning sky that shown through the clouds. The sky holds a brand spanking newness in its clear blue that you don’t get at any other time of the day.  Kind of the counterpoint to the brief deep cobalt the sky  turns once the sun has completely set.

(photo by John Barkman)

And when my resolve to stillness gave way, my hiking partner and I headed back down the trail we had walked up in the dark.  The conversation turned to theology and the different reflections of God in the Christian church.  Great conversation.  I learned a bit more about the Mennonite/Anabaptist tradition.  They place an emphasis on faith taking practical helping action from a history of knowing trial and oppression. Apparently their pacifism hasn’t always been the most politically welcome stance.