About a year ago I took a trip to Estes Park, Colorado, with four other youth ministers. We gathered for a week to talk about God, church, and youth ministry surrounded by the amazing backdrop of Rocky Mountain National Park. Each day we spent time in the park, mostly hiking on the easy to moderate trails. On our final day, however, we decided to hike the more strenuous CCY trail. CCY stands for Chapin, Chiquita, and Ypsilon, three peaks near or over an elevation of thirteen thousand feet. Despite our initial reluctance to attempt the trail, we all eventually decided to try it.
Once we found the trail and began our ascent, we quickly spotted a herd of elk. We watched and listened as one of the males bugled to another elk down in the valley. It was an incredible thing to witness, but it also made us realize how vulnerable we were. We pressed on until we reached the summit of the first peak. There, we rested and took in the view of the surrounding peaks and the valley below. It was the most beautiful scene. While it wasn’t Mount Everest, it did feel like we were on top of the world.
Isn’t it amazing how nature can simultaneously make us feel mighty and small? Conquering that trail was satisfying, but the view from the top of the peak reminded me of how insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things. And perhaps there is great wisdom in that. God’s creation reminds us that we bear the divine image, and yet we are still just wanderers in the landscape of the holy. What beauty might you discover as you search for God this day?
When have you felt both mighty and small? Why are our experiences with nature metaphors for our experience with God?
Almighty God, thank you for the myriad of ways you speak to us. Help us learn to be attentive to your presence in the everyday realities of our lives. Amen.