Yea, you shall leave in joy and be led home secure
Before you, mount and hill shall shout aloud
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
I took part this morning in the First Year Anniversary worship service for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Each of us was asked to reflect on the verse from Isaiah quoted above. I knew from the location of the passage in the book of Isaiah that it was an expression of hope that the Judean/Jewish exiles in captivity in Babylonia would return home to Judea. In fact, some did, according to history.
I didn't think that there was a link to our lives today, or, at least, the lives of the residents of the Mesilla Valley and Las Cruces, who can, almost at will, look east for a breathtaking view of the Organ Mountains. On May 14, I took a ride up to the La Cueva Picnic site by the Organ Mountains, which was our gathering place this morning. I was overwhelmed by the view looking back down on the city where Rhonda and I have now lived for four years. Just before that, I had taken a special prayer and photo of the Organ Mountains to a congregant who was about to turn 90. She told me, "I love the photo, because you know that I love my mountains." I realized that, perhaps, the mountains love us back, and that they "watch" us live our lives day in and day out, hoping that we feel that we are, in many aspects of our existence, home. I decided to give the mountains a voice during my participation in worship on this lovely and amazing morning, that brought together several faith traditions to express how our souls are bound to and moved by the open spaces of the earth.
A Meditation for/by the Organ Mountains
As the world and the universe are one
I am linked at the earth’s foundations
To the hills and the trees
That rejoiced as exiles left the realm of their captivity
and returned to a place they called home
and a land they called holy.
I am here, now, standing and watching
as those of you who tell of that experience of so long ago
along with other members of the greater human family
join in stewardship of your corner of the earth
to carefully preserve what remains.
I try to be for you a source of inspiration
And you return the favor to me when I feel your footsteps
as you climb towards the sky, gaining new vistas
that I am more than happy to provide.
I sense every gaze that comes my way
As you take time during your busy lives
To allow me to be a reminder
Of the wondrous world in which you live
Of the grandeur given to you as a sacred gift
by the Eternal Spirit of the universe
who made you and who made me.
Do not let my imposing heights mislead you
For I am humbled, I am honored
to serve you as a beacon, a guide,
as you traverse roads of your own making
and natural pathways that bond you and me together.
I have long realized that this is not just your land or my earth.
And, although I am so, so much older than you,
I need you.
It is your exuberance and your spirit
That keeps me young and vital.
I know I am part of your lives,
and you are a significant presence
that gives meaning to my existence.
And so, in the words of the prophet,
I will watch over you as you leave in great joy
and return home safe and secure.
I will coax from the trees and plants
that enhance my landscape
A loving and supportive song that will be carried by the wind.
And I will shout with exaltation
At the partnership and fellowship that we celebrate.
I will join my voice with yours
For our mutual recognition of the Source of New Life
That will ever sustain our Unity, our hope, our joy.