Eyes to the Vista
In the northern hillsides of Michigan, etched in the splendid dunes, lies a vista of great beauty. To reach this destination, you must prepare to hike a three-mile trail. You pack plenty of water, don hiking shoes and prepare to go.
The trail begins as a gradual ascent slowly entering the fragrant woodland canopy of birch, fir and oak. The light filters through the leaves, highlighting the deep gorges shaped long ago by forceful glaciers. It reflects off of fiddlehead ferns and edelweiss. Along the trail you will climb steep inclines, jump over roots and downed hollow trees. Coyote and cougar walk quietly beside you in the cover of the forest.
If it were not for the anticipation of the amazing vista that awaits you, the journey would seem worthless, overwhelming and dangerous. Yet, trusting that the vista awaits and that its beauty will renew your spirit, you push forward.
Soon, you climb the last staggered hill, and you begin to see the canopy open before you. You emerge from the woodlands to stand four hundred feet above Lake Michigan, its vastness like an endless ocean before you. The brush-stroked shades of blue are brilliant and vibrant. The Sleeping Bear Dunes roll on beyond the horizon. The clear, fresh breeze fills your hungry lungs with a precious renewal. You are in awe of this vista, a vista God has set before you and blessed on you.
When Mary and Joseph set on their journey, they anticipated the renewal from the vista that awaited them. They let hope encourage them and faith sustain them.
Every day, there are those that set out in migration in every corner of our world. They seek a vista of justice, security and sustainability. They scale insurmountable hills of oppression, they snag on the limbs of racism and they struggle to climb over irrational systems. The coyotes and cougar stalk them, awaiting an opportunity to prey. But still, as did Mary and Joseph, they move on toward the vista.
We shepherds are called by an angel of God to not be afraid and to go to the most amazing vista, the manger. We are called to walk along in the journey, to remove the limbs and rocks of injustice, to clear the path for safe journey through our faithfulness. For the vista of profound compassion awaits all in migration to a better place.
Prepare for the journey. Bring the gear that not only equips you along the way but will assist you in making the way safe for others. Be prepared to take in the most amazing vista, an endless horizon of hope, peace, joy and love.
Gracious God, keep our eyes to your vista. Help us in the journey to be prepared stewards of justice. Give us the stamina to walk with the others in our world, seeking the same compassion. Let the manger remind us that that gift is awaiting us all. Amen
Nichea Ver Veer Guy is a director for Women’s Division and Global Ministries from Grand Rapids, Mich., and a 2011 Methodist delegation member to People’s Global Action Forum on Migration and Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.