Monday, May 25, 2009

In God's Country

Misty and I have missed several Sundays of church lately. Enough so that our absence caught the attention of our minister, who sent me a message on Facebook telling me they'd missed us (How many pastors do you know who'd reach out like this?). I've missed them, too. Alas, summer seems to be the busiest season for Misty with Fresh Air Family outings, so we've been hiking through the woods instead of gathering with the church congregation.

It's odd, but I've found over the past several months that I actually enjoy going to church. That's something I never could have said before. As a kid it was always a chore, and I'd do anything to try to get out of it on Sunday morning. Even the infrequent times I visited churches in my late teens and 20s, it was never something I truly liked doing. When Misty and I hopped around sampling a number of different local churches a few years ago, none of them ever really connected with me.

That finally changed when Misty brought me to Homewood Church of Christ. These days, attending Sunday service has become an enjoyable experience. But it's more than that for me -- it's fulfilling. I love Homewood's message of "transformation through worship, relationships, and service." I love the people I've met there, and even though I don't embrace every aspect of their belief system, I feel comfortable and wholy accepted.

One of the couples who helped make us feel so welcome, Bret & Lanie Walters, recently shared photos from a trip they took to the Grand Canyon. Among the captions, Lanie wrote things like, "It's amazing to see God's handiwork" and "We enjoyed being away from the crowds and having some time to reflect on the AWEsome beauty of God's creation."

Those were the same thoughts going through my mind this weekend as Misty and I hiked through gorges and under waterfalls in Cane Creek Canyon in the Shoals area of Alabama. The area was absolutely beautiful, and while I've no doubt it doesn't come close to approaching the majesty of the Grand Canyon, it made us feel like we were communing with God, and that made us feel a little better about missing church.

Our pictures don't do it justice.

Gorge in Devil's Hollow, originally uploaded by MCuthbert.

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