A few weeks ago we had the privilege of leading a group of men into the heart of the Lake District on a wild camping adventure. It turned out to be more of an adventure than some of us had anticipated and left me with two revealing observations.
My first observation related a question which we posed at the beginning of the weekend of; “what does the beauty of creation say about the personality of the artist that created it?” On the first day we started walking under clear blue skies as we climbed up high onto the peaks of Grey Knotts, Brandreth, Green Gable and finally Great Gable, where we were blessed with a 360 deg view of the Scarfell range, the lakes of Buttermere, Crummock and Ennerdale and also the western seashore of Cumbria. It was breath-taking. By contrast, the weather conditions on the second day were much more changeable with the second night spent on the summit of Glaramara being battered by strong winds and torrential rain. None of the party experienced a good nights’ sleep with three tents flooded during the night and with the strong winds thundering around us all night. It was powerful.
So in answer to the question of what the surrounding scenery says about the personality of the artist that created it and given the extremes we experienced in just two days my answer is that………… He is beautiful yet powerful, glorious yet dangerous.
My second observation from the weekend was how much I enjoyed being in a group of men on a journey together. Most men in our modern society live quite isolated lives with busyness and family commitments leaving little time to invest in key relationships. Men also aren’t as naturally relational as women and we generally need an activity or an adventure to bind us together. As David Murrow said “women bond face to face but men bond side to side”. Nothing bonds a group of men together like a shared adventure.
It was wonderful to observe how men supported and encouraged each other throughout the weekend, both physically, by carrying each-others packs at times but also spiritually as men shared their stories with one another. The challenge of the adventure was made lighter by the ongoing banter and teasing along with the sharing of amusing stories of failures past. It all added to the sense of comradery and the anticipation of a shared adventure. I found it quite profound, almost mythic, to be in this group of men all journeying towards the same destination, with their minds set like flint, determined to finish well.
Often I have found that when something feels profound it is because it is reminding us of a desire that is set deep within us because it is God’s design for man. Many of the great stories that men love have a core of men on a mission together; Maximus and his band of gladiators, Frodo and his eclectic group of warriors, Captain Miller and his men fighting to save Private Ryan or William Wallace and his band of fellow brave-hearts. We love these stories because it is what we are also created for. Men need a group of Godly men around them, to walk with, to fight for, to challenge and to love. It was also true of Jesus, who undertook His mission with a group of twelve men alongside Him and with an inner group of three closer comrades (Peter, James and John).
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
Grid Ref is intended to help re-orientate men along the narrow path and are a mixture of personal testimonies and reflections from the A&D Team.