An overnight trip to the high country early this week offered multiple opportunities to be reminded of God’s presence.

From near Todd, NC, looking southwest toward Boone. The mountains themselves shout with it, of course, whether in the morning, when fog pools in the valleys; in broad daylight, when the leaves advertise the season; or at sunset, when daylight is drawing to a close and the peaks sleep in mystery.

A trip of many miles can be worth the trouble even for a day if you have the time, but that wasn’t what called me there. It was time for the ministers’ support group I’ve been part of for nearly 25 years to get together, and it was our first meeting since one of our members died unexpectedly.

We had plenty to talk about as we unpacked some of our feelings, considering our own mortality and wondering if we should change our name from “the Dead Preachers’ Society” to “the Dying Preachers’ Society.” None of us appear to be in imminent danger, but we couldn’t help but think of it.

We had other issues to discuss, too, as we always do — celebrating good news and seeking counsel in a way that can only happen in a group of friends who have walked together for a quarter century. There is beauty in that, too, and the presence of God.

And I am grateful.

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