Many of you have asked about our trip to Isle Royale National Park last month. First, I’m happy to report that there were no major injuries. Second, the weather was great; we had some beautiful hiking weather. Lastly, the group was an impressive bunch of kind and adventurous souls who performed well as a team. We read the creation story in context during evening bible study, learned about wilderness travel and made memories together. We saw moose wandering through camp, heard loons calling in the night, gazed out across vistas from high rocky peaks and drank cold, clean water from Lake Superior.

One of the circumstances that made this trip so special was the fact we arrived so early. While this posed a risk of having some cold nights, the pay-off was privacy, as well as the opportunity to ramble across an Island just as it was waking up from its winter slumber. Winter was still tucked in some corners, but the first signs of spring were abundant. We found small snow piles in hidden places and grass starting to grow underneath dried hummocks. We watched the aspen trees unfold their neon-green glory over the course of a week and marveled at their color. All of it reminded me of this scripture:

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus, it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. Isaiah 35:1

Along the way I began to examine the buds emerging from the trees. As I studied them, I took the picture you see on the next page. I marveled at how small, twisted and delicate they were, yet they comprise one of the most important and powerful changes of the season. These tiny soft buds contain the power to bring forth and sustain so much life, and we witnessed their emergence. We saw their potential. We stood alongside them at an in-between time.

How much of our lives comprise some form of in-between time? We are in-between jobs, in-between weekends, in-between relationships, in-between accomplishments, in-between life-stages. How often do we honestly examine all the “buds” in our lives which testify to life emerging full of potential, vitality, and nourishing sustenance? How often do we stop to rejoice and praise God for all the forms of abundance which surround us, whether large or small? Do we breathe in this potential ourselves so the we may be renewed by this complex web we belong to?

May God bless us with new eyes to see the beauty of life springing forth in its myriad of ways. May our in-between times be hallowed occasions to celebrate the unfolding potential around us. May our lives bloom abundantly while offering sustenance to others.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Nick

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