Tuesday, July 03, 2007

then sings my soul

our trip to the grand canyon was wonderful, but far too brief. we surveyed the canyon from the south rim, getting probably 10 different vantage points. what’s hard to imagine is its sheer size — 277 river miles long, roughly a mile deep (from rim to river), 10-18 miles across. we had the privilege of being there from mid-afternoon until nightfall, allowing us to watch the lengthening and shifting shadows that ‘remake’ the canyon throughout the afternoon, highlighting different textures and features of the topography, and even altering the color composition of the landscape. we were at grandview and moran point as the sun finally sank into the horizon — a beautiful sight that i tried to capture with a game but woefully overmatched digital pocket camera; this was the kind of setting that cried out for an industrial-strength camera, a tripod, and someone with the expertise to use them!

one thing that caught me by surprise was the diversity of the crowd, gathered from all four corners of the earth to see one of the true wonders of the natural world. from lunch time until we left, i know that i heard people speaking spanish, french, german, portuguese, and several languages i couldn’t identify. we saw buses full of tourists from asia; we encountered many folks from latin america. and we ended up in longer conversations with a family from reston, va (near where m’s sister and her family have been living for the last year and expect to return to in a few years), a college philosophy professor (an expert in existentialism) from baltimore, and a family from bothell (in the seattle area, not far from where we’ll be church planting). all of them were enjoying a taste of the awesome wonder that our souls crave, a hint of the beauty for which we were intended.

if there was a downside to our visit, it was not having enough time to hear the ranger talks, hike or ride into the canyon, or go on one of the many interesting tours (including a visit to exposed fossil beds, explorations of the animal and plant life in the canyon, and an examination of the formation of the canyon). we hadn’t even left the rim of the canyon before different ones of us were already saying that we need to come back to see more!

o lord my God
when i in awesome wonder
consider all the worlds thy hands hath made…

then sings my soul
my savior, God, to thee
how great thou art!

(translated from "how great thou art" by carl boberg)

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