Church and Mountains

Lifting Up Our Eyes!

In this month’s Memos from the Midbar article, we continue to look at the need for sacred space.

The sermon on Memorial Weekend Sunday was from Genesis 1:1-2 which begins to tell the creation story:

   In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

As part of the message our congregation was asked to stop and look up at the Smoky Mountains surrounding our church and be reminded of the creative beauty that surrounds us.

We tend to get so wrapped up in what we are doing – even going to church – that we forget to take the time to look around and see the beauty of God right in front of our eyes.

To my surprise that Sunday, there weren’t many people that decided to greet me on their way to lunch. Instead, many people headed straight to the back of the parking lot to do their “homework” and look up to see the hills about the church.

What a delight! So many people reported the joy they received from taking the time to look up to the hills.

In Psalm 121:1-2, the psalmist reminds us that the creator is also our protector if we remember to look up to him.

   I lift up my eyes to the hills– from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Genesis goes on to tell us that through God’s creative process there are times of darkness, emptiness and chaos. But God’s Spirit hovers, guards, protects and nurtures creation during the times of darkness.

   The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (ESV)

You may find it interesting that there is only one other time the same Hebrew word is found in the Bible. It’s from the Song of Moses found in Deut. 32:11

   Like an eagle protecting its nest, hovering over its young. (CEB)

 Eagle hovering over nest

The visual of the eagle is used by Moses to demonstrate the protection of God for his children [Israel]. Too often we let the darkness and chaos rule our lives when the Holy Spirit is available to provide protection, comfort and nurturing like the mother eagle.

We just need to stop and look up to the hills and be reminded of God’s protection in the midst of darkness in our lives. And as a resurrection people, we can claim the promise that the worst thing that happens on our lives is never the last thing.

It is my prayer that we are reminded daily to be intentional about finding spaces that invite the awe of God and holiness into our lives.


Eagle Photo from