Henry David Thoreau once stated that mountains are our undecaying monuments. A few years ago, I received a call from my wife saying she had just heard on the radio that The Old Man of the Mountains had fallen. You may ask, what on earth is The Old Man of the Mountains? Go to your collection of state quarters and take a look at what is on the New Hampshire quarter. That is The Old Man of the Mountains. It has served as a symbol of the Granite State for years. It has been one of the primary tourist attractions of the state for probably as long as there have been tourists traveling into New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
What caused The Old Man to slip from the face of Profile Mountain? In spite of decades of attempts to place straps and fancy glues to hold him up there, the forces of nature simply were too much. Rain and snow seeped into the cracks and crevices of the rocks that composed the profile face. Freezing and thawing expanded those cracks, and finally human beings could no longer force the face to stay in place.
I happen to be interested in The Old Man of the Mountains because for a number of years I lived in New Hampshire. The first churches I served were just a few miles from him. Over the years I climbed over Profile Mountain and I traveled frequently through Franconia Notch upon which The Old Man looked over. When I drove through the Notch, I would always look up to see him.
With that momentous event (at least in the views of New Hampshirites) I was reminded of the powerful forces at work in the world around me. Trees break under spring snowstorms, rivers cut new courses as they flood over their banks with spring run-off, and even mountains that seem as if they will never decay change over time.
More importantly, there is another power at work within the world and especially in our lives, and that is the power of God’s Spirit. Mountains may tumble, trees may break, wars may take their toll. In the midst of it all though, God is at work, seeking the best for each of us and for all of God’s creation.
Peace, shalom, paix, salaam, heiwa,