This week, I’ve asked a few of my close friends to help me think through the concept of the glory of God. I’m preaching this week from Exodus 33, the narrative of Moses asking to see the glory of God. I think there’s tremendous benefit to the collaborative process of sermon development, so I like to do this kind of thing from time to time. Anyway, the feedback I’ve gotten back from my friends this week has been just incredible. I asked them to share their thoughts on the glory of God. Specifically, how do we seek God’s glory? How do we reflect it? One of my friends, Eric, replied with a story. With his permission, I’m sharing it with you:
When you asked me to reflect on the Glory of God, one experience of mine immediately came to mind. Oddly enough, it didn’t take place in a church. There was no Bible at hand to read. And while there were lots of other people around, it was a solitary experience.
It was the first time I saw the Grand Canyon.
It was the tail end of a business trip to Gomorrah, otherwise known as Las Vegas. The five-hour drive did a lot to cleanse the icky feeling I had while there, but I arrived at the El Tovar hotel on the south rim of the Grand Canyon very late at night. After looking unsuccessfully for lodging in the park and immediately outside the park, I wound up sleeping in my rental car in the parking lot. While it was in the 80’s in Vegas, it was in the 30’s that night at the south rim. Needless to say, I did more shivering than sleeping that night. Finally around 5am, I started the car and drove out to Yavapai Point. There was already two busloads of other tourists there to see the sunrise.
I made my way through the crowd to get as close to the edge as possible. Even though I couldn’t see it, I distinctly remember the feeling that a yawning chasm was in front of me. As the sun came up, it was stunning. When the first light peeked over the eastern ridge, I could see the canyon for the first time. It was gray and immensely large. Then, over the course of the next 10 minutes, the canyon changed from gray to yellow to red. The two busloads of septuagenarians were gone shortly after that. I stayed for another hour.
As I drove back to the El Tovar for breakfast, I kept thinking that this must have been, in a very small way, what Moses must have felt like from the cleft in the rock. I had just seen the glory of God pass by.