We’ve had a few weeks out of school and we are in the midst of vacation season! That makes me think of my favorite vacation spot: Zion National Park in Utah. One summer, my family was camping around the American West. While we were at Zion, we went on a hike in the Virgin River. We hiked IN the river. Here are some pictures, but let me tell you about it. We hiked a short way to the river and then we just stepped into the river…because the river becomes the trail. It becomes the trail because the river is in a canyon: it is about as wide as the church and the sides as tall as our church walls and the colors all orange and red and yellow. The river water wasn’t very deep–a few inches and sometimes up to our knees–and we kept our shoes on to protect our feet. The water was cold, but the weather was so hot that it felt good. There were other people hiking, but it wasn’t crowded.
Ahead of us was a man and woman who were not dressed like typical hikers. He had on business clothes with his long-sleeve white shirt rolled up to his elbows and his business pants rolled up to his knees. The woman was wearing the traditional dress of India called a sari; it was like a beautiful scarf wrapped around her body, all bright yellow with gold stitching. These were not typical hiking clothes. At one point we caught up with them and the man looked at us and asked, “How much further?” The three in my family looked at each other and said, “We don’t know.” So then the man said, “Are we there yet?” And the three of us looked at each other again, and then looked at the beautiful rocks and the beautiful canyon walls and the beautiful water and the beautiful sky, and then we looked at the man and woman and said, “Yes, we are there.”
So many times, especially in summer, we are trying to get somewhere: going on vacation, going through the week, going here, going there. But really, each day that we get up, each day that we rejoice in the Lord, we are there. Because when you are with God, you are there. Our Bible story today tells us, “Now is the time.” Our life with God is not something that starts later, it is now, each day, because with God, we are already there. So when you find yourself looking ahead to see if you are there yet, remember: you are there with God already.
Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it back.)
We are not Christians alone.
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