ROCK CAIRNS

Rock Cairn 2All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His decrees. Psalm 25:10

According to Wikipedia.com, a cairn is a “man-made pile (or stack) of stones…used for a broad variety of purposes, from prehistoric times to the present.” The word is derived from an ancient Scottish Gaelic term. These rock stacks have been built and used as burial monuments, for defense, hunting, ceremonial purposes, and to mark hidden items. The most common uses for cairns has been to mark trails for travelers. They appear throughout the world, in all sorts of terrain. They vary in size and complexity from simple piles of rocks to delicately balanced sculptures that seem to defy gravity. In recent years, it has become popular to construct and display cairns in cultivated gardens and in state and national parks. In many parts of the world, building rock cairns in public places has become frowned upon or even made illegal, because many cairns can confuse hikers, and because today’s eco-conscious society practices a “leave no trace” ethic regarding shared or public lands.

I have been fascinated by rock cairns for many years, and I have seen examples of them in foreign countries like Scotland and Ireland, and in nearby neighbors’ yards and gardens. I do not have a steady hand, but I marvel at people who can stack rocks with great abandon, never having their structures tumble like pick-up sticks. It is not lost on me that, while these formations have been used in marking paths, they also represent a delicate balance, just as life offers us paths to choose with wise guidance and personal stability.

The Bible offers many examples of God leading us along with “markers,” often His precepts, commandments and promises. The Psalms are filled with such examples, the most beloved perhaps the 23rd Psalm, which says, “He leads me in right paths for His name sake” (v.3). Each New Testament Gospels refer to John the Baptist as a sort of human cairn, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” The Lord provides markers, or “cairns” for us to follow in the way He wishes us to go.

 

Lord, You provide both guidance and balance in our lives. Help us see the markers You provide for us in this world. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors.  Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

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