April 22: John Muir & Hudson Stuck, Naturalist & Writer, 1914, Priest & Environmentalist, 1920
April 22, 2011 25 Comments
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Born in Scotland in 1838, John Muir immigrated to the United States in 1849, settling in Wisconsin. Muir sought the spiritual freedom of the natural world. As a college student Muir studied botany, of which he later said, “This ﬁne lesson charmed me and sent me ﬂying to the woods and meadows with wild enthusiasm.”
In 1868, Muir arrived in Yosemite Valley, California, which he called “the grandest of all the special temples of nature.” During a hiking trip through the Sierras, Muir developed theories about the development and ecosystem of the areas. Some years later, Muir took up the cause of preservation, eventually co-founding the Sierra Club, an association of environmental preservationists.
Muir, an ardent believer in the national parks as “places of rest, inspiration, and prayers,” adamantly opposed the free exploitation of natural resources for commercial use. This position put him at odds with conservationists who saw natural forests as sources of timber and who wanted to conserve them for that reason.
Muir was inﬂuential in convincing President Theodore Roosevelt that federal management and control were necessary to insure the preservation of the national forests. Today, he is revered as an inspiration for preservationists and his life’s work stands as a powerful testament to the majesty and beauty of God’s creation.
Hudson Stuck was an Episcopal priest and explorer. Born in England in 1863, he came to the United States in 1885. He graduated from The University of the South in 1892. From 1894 to 1904, Stuck was Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral in Dallas, Texas. In 1905 he moved to Fort Yukon, Alaska, where he spent the rest of his life, serving as archdeacon of the Diocese of Alaska.
With a group of fellow explorers, Stuck was the ﬁrst to completely ascend Denali (Mt. McKinley). He later wrote of the experience as a “privileged communion” to be received in awe and wonder. Upon reaching the pinnacle of Denali, Stuck led the climbers in prayer and thanksgiving.
Archdeacon Stuck died in 1920.
I Blessed Creator of the earth and all that inhabits it: We offer thanks for thy prophets John Muir and Hudson Stuck, who rejoiced in your beauty made known in the natural world; and we pray that, inspired by their love of thy creation, we may be wise and faithful stewards of the world thou hast created, that generations to come may also lie down to rest among the pines and rise refreshed for their work; in the Name of the one through whom all things art made new, Jesus Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
II Blessed Creator of the earth and all that inhabits it: We thank you for your prophets John Muir and Hudson Stuck, who rejoiced in your beauty made known in the natural world; and we pray that, inspired by their love of your creation, we may be wise and faithful stewards of the world you have created, that generations to come may also lie down to rest among the pines and rise refreshed for their work; in the Name of the one through whom you make all things new, Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Prayer of Azariah and The Song of the Three Jews 52–59
Preface of a Saint (3)
From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
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We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?
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