The Grand Canyon is on many bucket lists of “things to see before you die.”
Of course before venturing out to this site from some hotel or campground, who wouldn’t want to start the day with a nice breakfast? Maybe an omelet with a side of sausage?
And once the family has taken in the beauty of God’s creation, why not stop in a church on the way back and thank the Creator for the wonders of this day?
Anyone would enjoy such a day. But what most of us would not like is being exposed to what made these wonders possible. The Grand Canyon is the product of centuries of water erosion that slowly carved this gash out of the earth. To get an omelet you have to break some eggs, as they say—which were retrieved from a part of the chicken we want no part of. Sausage? Nobody wants to see sausage being made.
Church? It took Jesus’s torturous death on a cross to produce all the churches populating this earth.
Nothing good ever comes easy.
And what about us? We’re beautiful people, right? Other people want to be around us—friends and family alike. But what made us the loveable people we are? A life of creative erosion; ugly events that shaped our characters and taught us lessons—much as the subjects of today’s readings learned their lessons.
Habakkuk cries out for help from life’s violence, for guidance toward his vision of salvation, and the Lord tells him “Wait for it, it will surely come.”
Paul tells his beloved Timothy, “Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.”
And Jesus tells his apostles, “When you have done all that you have been commanded, say ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.”
Talk about tough love! But think about it, aren’t these the kinds of forces that created the Greatest Generation—the children of the Depression—the soldiers who stormed Normandy and their women back home who reminded the children they were still a family, no matter what happened?
The next time I have a hard day at work and complain to God about poor little me, I’ll try to remember today’s readings—and, of course, The Grand Canyon.