In the last blog I explained the bottom portion of our logo and how it represents our work partnering with God’s restorative love for creation.
I didn’t want to leave out the top part of the logo—as there was great intention there as well.
On the top of the logo is an outline of Camel’s Hump which is a 4000ft+ mountain on a large swath of state land that abuts 7th Seed. In Northwestern Vermont it is a recognizable landmark from both east and west. It signifies our place, which is important to who we are. 7th Seed occupies a small homestead backing up to this beautiful mountain.
The Abenaki people’s name for Camel’s Hump brings us close to the main reason for its inclusion on our logo: “Ta wak be dee eeso Wadso, as the Abenakis knew it. That term..implied rest, but in the sense of the mountain being a good resting place. One scholar of the Abenaki language said it meant ‘prudently we make a campfire in a circle near water and rest at this mountain.’” (From a VTDigger article from 2019 by Mark Bushnell).
We want 7th Seed to offer a place for Christians to come away and rest in the mountains: a place to renew and reset intentions—both through our retreats and our fellows program for 18-25 year olds.
One of the most impactful, life-changing experiences for me (right up there with getting married and giving birth) was sitting by myself for 48 hours in the mountains when I was 19.
Maybe it was so powerful because of the stark contrast it offered to the rest of my life at the time. Every second of my day was planned. There was not a moment to waste: I could always spend time becoming more knowledgable; I could always spend time becoming more healthy and fit; I could always spend more time becoming a better ______ (employee, athlete, scholar, Christian).
I needed that solo time in the woods to quiet my mind, to quiet my body, to listen. In all my STRIVING to follow Jesus since my youth, I managed to skip over the “Be still and know that I am God!” (Ps. 46:10) part in Scripture. I was so busy doing for God, and studying about God, I hadn’t taken time to to be with Him. I mean, I set aside time, in my very planned day, to read my Bible and pray; but on this Solo in the woods, it was different. With no other expectations for my days, I just sat. I didn’t even have to think about what to eat; there was no food. During this time, I realized there were areas of my life where I needed to redirect my efforts and priorities to be in line with God’s heart. I sat, I stood, I sang, I spoke—I was filled.
Every year our little family prioritizes time in the wilderness. We love the hiking, we love the fly fishing and views—but mostly we love being filled: baffled anew with the beauty and goodness of our God. Taking time away from our busyness and striving to just be still is important to us.
It was important to Jesus as well. Even though he was God in flesh, he took time away from the crowds and ascended into the mountains to pray and be with his Father. Luke highlights Jesus’s time in the wilderness several times. Before He starts teaching and healing, “[Jesus] was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days” (Luke 4:1). He returned from the wilderness (and his testing there) “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). As Jesus began teaching and healing, “The report about him went abroad and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places to pray” (Luke 5:16).
As Luke is recounting the life and work of Jesus, he finds it important not just to share about his teaching and healing, but also of his time alone. He shares it multiple times; again in chapter 6 he writes: “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray” (verse 12) implying it was a regular practice.
In this day of constant data input and over-filled schedules, it’s important to set aside time to step away to think, to breathe, to reflect, to pray, to listen, to be. As followers of Jesus, we should consider his life. It was a life of action: radically loving the outcasts of society, healing, feeding, teaching. AND he regularly took time away in wild, desolate, mountainous spaces to be with his Father.
There are many ways to practice solitude. You can go out into the woods as I did with just a sleeping bag, water bottle, and a small tarp, or you can decide to turn off your phone for a day once per week and go for a quiet walk. You could sit by a stream for an hour—just sit (leave your phone behind). It takes prioritizing, it takes support from community members and family members. It was important to Jesus and should be for us as well.
I encourage you in this last week of advent to prioritize a chunk of quiet time: enjoy time with our Prince of Peace.