Today, my family and I hiked Old Rag. It is a trail in the Shenandoah National Park. According to the NPS website, it is about 9 miles and hikers gain over 530 meters in elevation. It is a popular and grueling hike.
How did I find God on the hike? It was part of a weekend away with my family. We stayed at a friend’s farm. We played croquet, watched a movie, hiked around the farm, ate fun food, and hiked Old Rag. The family respite reminded each of us how much we enjoy being around one another. Brief getaways devoted to fun help us remember who we are as a family.
What about church? Did I miss preaching or leading worship? Yes, and no. For me, Sundays are not work. I love going to church. Whenever I plan to be away, part of me thinks about what I will miss. I say, “Oh no! We have this going on that day!”
Sometimes I talk myself out of going. It feels like I would miss too much if I were away. So, going away reminds me that the church can go on without me. No one is irreplaceable. God is at work in the church, and I get to be part of it. That’s why I love going to church, even if it is my job.
What about the hike? I am sore but feel good. Old Rag is a great trail. We learned from our last time: go early. Later in the day, lots of people go to the trail, and some sections feel like waiting line at an amusement park. Finding so much elevation and scrambling up the rocks is invigorating. Like any moment in nature, the world provides a chorus to God’s handiwork.