Among the many highlights of our recent trip to the great American west, we visited Bryce Canyon. There were moments when I wondered if it was worth it. We drove out of Las Vegas to Zion National Park, did a quick tour through that amazing slice of wilderness, then headed onwards. It was a lot of driving in a single day. Just before we hit Bryce Canyon, storm clouds gathered as if to dampen our spirits. As we reached the top of the ridge overlooking the canyon though, I was speechless.
Bryce Canyon is one of those places where it’s hard not to take a good picture. Everywhere you look, there is beauty, stone and earth shaped and formed over millions of years into a vivid and mesmerizing landscape. My brain and heart sort of got quiet, and I was able to worship second by second in that natural cathedral. What an amazing place! And I was there, in first person.
No postcards. No Youtube video. No photo slideshow.
Some things are just worth seeing in person.
Working at a church, I’ve seen a lot of beautiful things – babies being born, families finding hope in the midst of grief, people of all ages turning over a new leaf, leaders discovering their call, and addicts hearing that they are loved. And for all of my own struggles and misgivings that I have had about organized religion over the years, it humbles me that my life intersects with other strangers, and we have the opportunity to learn and grow and wonder together. Religion is an ancient thing, like that canyon, with well-traveled paths that draw people into communion to marvel together at the mystery and beauty in Creation.
From the outside, it might not seem worth the drive or the effort… but when you get up close, you just may be surprised at what you find.
Where have you seen something beautiful this week? When has your heart and brain quieted down so you could just be? What do you wish you could see at the Table or another church that would connect you to God in a powerful, moving way?