Special guest post by Summer Youth Intern Taylor Zimmerman:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of God's hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4
For what seemed like hours, we stood patiently while occasionally moving forward down this winding and twisting path. With each step, the auburn sun sapped our energy as it scorched our skin and narrowed our sight. The cool breeze refused to comfort us, and I imagine my watch maliciously laughed as it slowed time to a snail’s pace. As a community, we remained unhindered by these obstacles building one another up with story and laughter. At last we had arrived at our destination -- the gravity-defying, nerve-racking, stomach-crunching steel roller coaster, the Boomerang.
This past weekend the youth had a wonderful opportunity to take a church-sponsored trip to Six Flags. We all woke up early, piled into vans and trekked out to Eureka, Missouri, to experience extreme speeds and gravity-defying loops and corkscrews. After the last ride, we headed back to St. Louis to finish off our incredible night with delicious cheesy pizza. Diane and I were chaperones on the trip, and we both agreed that it was indeed a sacrifice for us to ride fun roller coasters all day and eat delicious pizza, but, ya know, somebody has to do it.
Overall, the event was a success, the youth had fun, and I pray they experienced something new about God’s great creation. It’s rather easy to see God in specific events. We encounter God in historic, traditional hymns, small group Bible studies, prayer times, and church-sponsored mission work. We feel a special presence with our Lord in those times we deem especially church-y or explicitly Christian. The only issue is God doesn’t stay only in our churches and doesn’t show up only in times dictated by our ministry teams. God is present even in our ordinary times, and we as Christians are called to acknowledge those times and praise God.
As we waited for one ride, we watched cartoon animations of this Wile E. Coyote chase this Road Runner around the Southwest American desert. We watched again and again as the coyote attempted to catch the bird but never succeeded -- often blowing himself up, running off a cliff, or running into a large rock. After witnessing the Road Runner run into and through a painting and the coyote only falling when he noticed how high up he was, one of the youth laughed at the inaccuracy of cartoon physics. Suddenly, we all paid more attention to the intricacies of the comic creator’s understanding of physics and these minute details we hadn’t noticed before.
When we think of God’s creation, we often think of the big stuff like large mountains erupting from the ground or giant bodies of water suddenly filling with sea life. We rarely think about the smaller things like physics and how real physics (not the Acme kind) causes things like roller coasters to actually work and be fun. We can and should experience God in everything. The places we meet God don’t have to be “holy” by human standards. We experience God when we humbly acknowledge creation and allow it to draw us back to the Author of All Things.
I encourage you all for the rest of the summer as you engage in pool parties, summer camps, theme parks, and other fun summer activities to take a moment to breath and to see God in the joy of family, in the fellowship of friends and in the sounds of nature.