God in all things, Scenery

What is remarkable?

A while back I heard a podcast discussing this question. The context of the discussion was why one idea is remarkable and another not or one event news and another event ordinary.

When I look at a photo, I am often trying to assess if it is remarkable. This is a photo from Bandelier National Monument; it is remarkable to me visually due the contrasting colors but also because of the geology. The Rio Grande River, seen in the distance, once flowed through part of this canyon. It was displaced to its current path 1/2 mile away by volcanic eruptions over 1 million year ago.

To me, seeing God in all things is another way to talk of seeing what is remarkable.

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Scenery

God do!

This photo was taken at Tent Rocks National Monument near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The rock formations inspiring the name of this park can be seen just to the right of center. The tent rocks are actually hoodoos that come to a point and resemble tents. We also saw hoodoos in Turkey that were so large people carved out homes and lived inside of them.

Hoodoos form in an area where there is a thick layer of soft rock covered by a thin layer of a harder rock. Cracks in the thin hard layer allow for erosion of the softer layer underneath. As the underlying layer erodes, pieces of the upper layer break away leaving small “islands“ which develop into the hoodoos.

For me, learning about geology reminds me of learning about the human body; God‘s creation is so amazing!

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Scenery

Artsy

When we travel, I take a lot of what I would “touristy” photos. The kinds of shots many people would take when traveling to that location. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to to travel to so many amazing places in the past few years. It’s not hard to take great photos when you’re somewhere like the Grand Canyon or Glacier National Park.

I also try to take photos that I would call “artsy.” Maybe something most people would see but not take a picture of. Sometimes, a view from a spot that gives a unique perspective on a common sight. In the picture below, I was struck by the contrast between the tree in the foreground and city of Albuquerque in the distance.

In a similar way, there are some Bible passages that have a clear meaning. Other times, I appreciate being able to read the reflections of others for a perspective that I would not have on my own. Among the many resources available, I suggest looking at the daily reflections from itemissaest.org or jesuitprayer.org.

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Scenery

Consolation & Desolation

We had a magnificent view from our house in New Mexico with amazing sunsets. This first photo was taken just after sunset our third night there. The effect on the clouds is dramatic, giving them a red cotton candy appearance.

I took this second picture a mere 3 minutes later with a remarkable difference in the appearance of the clouds.

Similarly, consolation can turn to desolation quickly in our lives. Consolation, or times we are moving toward God, becomes desolation when we lose our focus on God. Fortunately, we don’t need to wait on the “sun” to rise, God is always there, waiting to “shine” on us!

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Scenery

Standing Out

This is a view of the Sandia Mountains, taken from inside a stone cabin/shelter built in the 1930s. The shelter was designed to blend in with the surroundings.

The idea of blending in can be a good one. Animals often try to blend into their environment as a mechanism of defense. Adolescents will go to great lengths to blend in (fit in) with peers. It feels comfortable to fit it.

On the other hand, we are called to be a light on lampstand and a city on a hill. The photo reminds me that while I am comfortable fitting it, I am called to stand out.

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Scenery

Oral traditions

This is the last photo I took on our trip to New Mexico before getting on the plane to come home. It is Red Rock in Jemez Springs. When I look at the photo, what I remember is the welcome center across the road. Inside the welcome center, there was a small museum for the Native American tribe that lived in the area.

It was very interesting to learn more about the history of the original people of New Mexico. I admit that I knew very little before our trip. One thing I learned was the importance of their oral traditions, handed down through many generations.

Oral traditions are also very important for Christianity, especially for the historical books of the Old Testament, the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and probably some of the epistles attributed to Paul. All were likely stories and messages that were told and re-told many times before they were written in the form we recognize as the Bible.

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