Posé: A pause or rest stop along the Voyageurs' portage trail. Usually about ½ mile apart. We invite you to take a pause in your day to reflect and pray with us.  

Happy are those whose strength is in you,

in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

                                Psalm 84:5

Psalm 84 celebrates a spiritual geography, in which the highways to the temple become internalized within the heart of the pilgrims who meet God there. Instinctively we know this is true. We have been shaped by a natural landscape that has become the vehicle of our spiritual growth. My personal spiritual geography has coalesced around these writers from various disciplines:

In Dakota: A spiritual Geography, Kathleen Norris shares how the geological and socialecosystems of the Great Plains refined the spirit of a New York writer.

The Spiritual Landscape of Mark by Bonnie Thurston describes how the paradigmatic roles of thedesert, the city, the mountain and the sea function in Mark's presentation of discipleship.

M. Owen Lee argues that Richard Wagner uses mythology in the Ring des Nibelungen cycle totransform the primary setting of the cycle, which he describes as "the landscape of the humansoul" (Wagner's Ring: Turning the Sky Round).

So what is your spiritual geography? What places and settings has God used to shape your soul? What holy places now reside in your heart because you have met God there? I have been shaped profoundly by the interplay between the shore of Lake Superior and the heights of the Superior Hiking Trail in Duluth. Our congregation sits halfway up the climb from London Road to Hawk Ridge. One of my favorite runs is a loop along the Lakewalk, up Seven Bridges Road to the top, and back down again. On a run along the Superior Hiking Trail our group experienced a stunning sunrise out of Lake Superior. That image regularly recurs in my dreams as an expression of the presence of God. The power of the geography of this particular place has entered my heart! This specific place in God's creation has become the lens through which I see not only my spiritual home, but the ends of the earth. I have a spiritual geography.

I believe it is God's Word that carries transforming power into our hearts and marks specific times and places as holy. Camp Vermilion and Camp Hiawatha are holy places where God meets us, transforms us, and sends us to the ends of the earth. We have a spiritual geography in God's great northwoods!


Pastor Dave Mesner

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd

Duluth, MN