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Point of Reference

By Dan Baumgartner on
Dan Baumgartner
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Mar 01 in Musings
The picture above shows me at the sanctuary I worshiped in last Sunday- a little unorthodox, I know. After returning from a very full week in Atlanta leading a conference, Anne and I headed to the desert for the weekend. Sunday morning found us hiking in Joshua Tree National Park, a place of stunning beauty. What an amazingly creative God we worship!
While Joshua Tree has many well-marked hiking trails, it is also possible to simply
forge your own way in the wide-open spaces. So after we parked the car at Hidden Valley, we just set out walking toward the horizon. We kept one point in front of us as a target, but it was also important to remember where we had started- I wasn’t excited about getting lost.  Every 15 minutes or so, I would turn and glance behind us to make sure I could recognize the landscape near the car. That rockpile wasn’t moving. Walk, turn and get centered again. Walk, turn and get centered.  As long as we knew where that centering rock formation was, we were safe to strike out into the desert.

It’s not a bad picture for living life.  We are walking into all sorts of unknown horizons, in a day of deep division and confusion on many fronts. Let’s be honest- we don’t always know exactly where we are going. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, IF we know where we are coming from. We are people who belong to Jesus Christ. That is our centering identity. And we need frequent reminders of it. The loaf and cup. The waters of baptism. The gathering with other believers. Raising our voices in praise. These simple things are the periodic centering, the reminders that we are not untethered or wandering alone in unrecognizable territory. We belong to God. The Psalmist understood it well: “He alone is my rock and my salvation (Psalm 62).”
See you soon,
            Pastor Dan

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