Majestic! Awesome! Incredible! Overwhelming! Breathtaking! Awe Inspiring!
These are some words, among many, that we heard as people tried to describe the beauty before them. It was a week ago tomorrow that we stood at Paradise on the slope of Mt. Rainier preparing for a 2.4 mile hike further up the mountain. It was a perfect day for hiking, in the mid 70’s, not a cloud in the sky, and a gentle breeze.
The further we went on the trail, the more we saw of the melting glaciers and the resulting streams of water that cascade down. There were several water falls that increased our enjoyment of this hike along with an abundance of alpine flowers that were in full bloom. Yet the best part was sharing it with our children and grandchildren. Several songs came to mind as we hiked,
Majesty – “worship His majesty…”
How Great Thou Art – “when I look down from lofty mountain grandure…”
I Stand in Awe – “majesty enthroned above…”
There are times when we experience something on a level that is deeper than our normal response to the world around us. These are the situations that lead individuals to break out in song, pen a poetic verse, or paint a lovely scene. There is something deep within us that responds and cries out for expression.
Last Tuesday was one of these days. I heard several people say things like “This is a spiritual experience.” There was a quote in the visitors’ center expressing this feeling. I had to ask myself the question – What do we mean when we say this is a “spiritual” experience?
I believe it is our human response to the image of God in each of us. That part of us that is created in God’s image and recognizes the Divine whether one ackowledges God’s existence or not.
I can look at Mt. Rainier and see the results of volcanic action, effects of extreme weather conditions, and erosion. Yet these phenomena together do not explain the “spiritual” experience that one encounters on Mt. Rainier.
Romans 1:20-21 (NIV)
20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Enjoying the beauty of the outdoors is a spiritual experience that is heightened when you know who created the beauty. It is humbling to see God’s creative power AND be able to thank Him. I felt God’s presence as I acknowledged His handiwork and thanked Him for the opportunity to enjoy it with our family. It truly was a spiritual experience.
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
― G.K. Chesterton