Wednesday, July 21, 2010

San Bernardino

Yesterday I climbed another mountain with the same friend from church I climbed the last one. This time our goal was the 10,649 ft summit of Mt. San Bernardino. The climb was 16 miles round trip with a 4,600 ft elevation gain. Mt. San Bernardino is the most prominent peak visible from the Inland Empire where I live and go to school. I've wanted to climb it for a long time and I was not disappointed by the hike.

About halfway up, looking southeast toward the summit.

A mountain stream.

This picture was taken looking west from near the summit. Through the haze you can see the grid of streets in the cities of the Inland Empire, the street at center is Baseline. There's an interesting monument near the top dedicated to Col. Henry Washington, a surveyor who erected a marker, an "Initial Point," near the top of the mountain in 1852. This marker was used to partition all of the land in Southern California in a rectangular system. You can read the interesting story here.

Looking north to Big Bear Lake. The solar observatory on the lake is visible as a white dot on the right.

At the summit. Mt. San Gorgonio, highest point in southern California behind me. I climbed it last September.

Coming down I found this patch of interesting flowers very popular with the honey bees.

"You will find something far greater in the woods than you will find in books. Stones and trees will teach you that which you will never learn from masters."

- Bernard of Clairvaux, the mountain's namesake

Friday, July 16, 2010

From the blood, wounds and death of Christ

But if you ask, where the faith and the confidence can be found and whence they come, this it is certainly most necessary to know. First: Without doubt faith does not come from your works or merit, but alone from Jesus Christ, and is freely promised and given; as St. Paul writes, Romans v: "God commendeth His love to us as exceeding sweet and kindly, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"; as if he said: "Ought not this give us a strong unconquerable confidence, that before we prayed or cared for it, yes, while we still continually walked in sins, Christ dies for our sin?" St. Paul concludes: "If while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, how much more then, being justified by His blood, shall we be saved from wrath through Him; and if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life."

Lo! thus must thou form Christ within thyself and see how in Him God holds before thee and offers thee His mercy without any previous merits of thine own, and from such a view of His grace must thou draw faith and confidence of the forgiveness of all thy sins. Faith, therefore, does not begin with works, neither do they create it, but it must spring up and flow from the blood, wounds and death of Christ. If thou see in these that God is so kindly affectioned toward thee that He gives even His Son for thee, then thy heart also must in its turn grow sweet and kindly affectioned toward God, and so thy confidence must grow out of pure good-will and love -- God's love toward thee and thine toward God. We never read that the Holy Spirit was given to any one when he did works, but always when men have heard the Gospel of Christ and the mercy of God. From this same Word and from no other source must faith still come, even in our day and always. For Christ is the rock out of which men suck oil and honey, as Moses says, Deuteronomy xxxii.

- Martin Luther, from A Treatise on Good Works, 1520

Sunday, July 11, 2010

San Jacinto

On Saturday I climbed the last of the "Three Saints" - the three highest peaks in the mountain ranges of Southern California. Back in September of '08 I climbed Mt. San Antonio (Old Baldy), and in September of '09 I climbed Mt. San Gorgonio. San Jacinto Peak at 10,834 feet was the last of the three for me. I went with a fellow parishioner from Christ's Church - Anglican, with whom I've hiked before. The climb was an easy ascent of about 2300 ft over about five and a half miles.

A grassy meadow in the San Jacinto Mountains.

This hut was built near the summit in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Inside are emergency supplies and journals that have been written in by climbers.

Summit of San Jacinto Peak

The Summit Marker

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Finished. . .

. . . with my third year of medical school.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I've just finished three very busy months of internal medicine during which I was rarely able to make it to church. Today I have been unusually excited to worship the Lord tomorrow in the midst of the congregation and to share in the blessed sacrament of His body and blood. May we praise Him for the grace he bestows on us in holy communion.

This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.

- Justin Martyr (A.D. 103-165)