Valleys in the Scriptures often conjure images of distance and death. Who, in very conservative churches, did not grow up with constant references to the Valley of Megiddo? Armageddon was, and for many still, a constant specter.
I am always interested in the response when I ask fearful people to read the story of just what happened in Megiddo. Once they do, they discover, the image of valley opens up possibility for the agency and activity of God. On top of the mountain, it is taken for granted. Think Olivet. But, in the valley we hear the songwriter announce confidence though walking through the “valley of the shadow of death.” Ominous valleys.
Valleys are fertile. Winter snows melt and create a constant water supply. Herds range along the Rio Grande river hardly worried about good pasture to graze. Except, maybe this year. After two years of lower snow fall totals even Colorado is rationing water from snow melt.
Valleys are places where trust is tested amidst most circumstances of plenty. Think Lot and Abraham. Growth happens in valleys. Affirmations in echo chambers persist on mountain tops.
If we were to stop talking about things in terms of sacred -mountains – and secular – valleys – we may learn how under-rated valleys really are. There we find our friends, true companionship, hope to come.
And, if you care not to engage my reflections on valleys, they are at least beautiful to behold.