On the one hand is the awesome scale of the landscape. On the other is the beauty, seen on the tiniest scale in the anemones, gentians and edelweiss opening in rock crevices above the tree line.
We like to start each day by rising as high as possible, using the chair or gondola lifts. The day’s activity then becomes a homeward walk, assisted by sticks, anticipating a superb evening meal and warm Tyrolean welcome. We follow well-trodden hiking paths, from one mountain alm to the next. At each stage of the journey we look forward to the next beaker of milk straight from the cow or the beer kept chilled in the icy water of the mountain brooks. It feels like a foretaste of heaven.
In the fourth commandment (Exodus 20 vv. 8-11) God gives the Sabbath principle to stop work at least one day in seven. A regular ‘holy day’ is a time set apart for rest, refreshment and renewal of relationships. As Jesus pointed out, this is for our benefit. If you are ‘on holiday’ now, enjoy it! If now is a busy time for you, do you plan regular pause points? Ultimately, we find true rest in relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. Holidays or ‘holy days’ give opportunity for that relationship to develop. Maybe you know this version of Psalm 23 ‘for Busy People’ by Toki Miyashina.
“The Lord is my pace-setter, I shall not rush;
he makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals,
he provides me with images of stillness, which restore my serenity.
He leads me in the way of efficiency, through calmness of mind;
and his guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day
I will not fret, for his presence is here.
His timelessness, his all-importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of activity,
by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility;
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours
and I shall walk in the pace of my Lord,
and dwell in his house for ever.”
(from the Lion Book of Famous Prayers, Lion, 1983, pp.114-115)
Photo: my own, taken in the Stubaitl, Tirol, Austria