I rarely go on vacation with just one of my children. For the last three days, my daughter and I have been traveling by car from Kansas City to Los Angeles. This morning, we found ourselves at the Grand Canyon, a place neither of us have ever visited.
Now, I am sure that many who read this message have been to this magnificent place. And if you have been there, you know that both words and photographic images barely capture the grandeur and beauty this place holds.
We took the opportunity to hike down just a little ways into the canyon. About 5 minutes into our descent, I just stopped and stared. The vista was simply breathtaking. Two other times in my life had I experienced such emotions: the first, when I was snorkeling in the Red Sea and saw the coral reef off of Ras Muhammed, in the Sinai peninsula; the second, when I was salmon fishing in the backcountry of Alaska. Both moments – and this one today – were times when I felt and saw firsthand the beauty of God’s handiwork. (Now, I know that there are some who will poo-poo that statement, but please bear with me for the rest of my thoughts!)
As I did on both earlier occasions, I found myself (literally) without breath, so amazing was the view. I stood there alone for a few minutes, catching my breath. Eventually, I need to articulate something out loud, to acknowledge how I had been changed. And the only words that came to mind were ones found in our prayerbook:“Ma rabu ma’asecha Adonai; kulam b’chochma asita…How great are your works, God; in wisdom you have made the all.”
“Ma rabu ma’asecha, Adonai.” How great are your works, God.
Whether we are walking down from the southern rim into the Grand Canyon or just seeing those marvelous Kansas skies the summer brings, these moments are an opportunity to recognize the wonder of creation (whether that creation comes from God or from a “big bang”). When we pause from our everyday and consider the those works of God that insert themselves regularly…those moments elevate the everyday into the awesome day.
As a friend of mine reminds me often, “It’s a God-thing.” And I believe with whole heart that “God-things” happen all the time. A rainbow. An unexpected call. A polar vortex in the middle of summer. New flowers or vegetables blossoming out of the ground. A new born baby’s cry. Beholding the vista of the Grand Canyon. Ma rabu ma’asecha, Adonai; kulam b’chochma aista.
May these closing days of summer bring their awe-filled God-filled moments. And when they do, may we pause, catch our breaths, and acknowledge (however it works for you) the wonder of the moment..the beauty and inscrutable beauty of God’s handiwork.