The theme verse for the NACCC Annual Meeting was from Psalm 98:8... "Let the rivers clap their hands. Let the mountains sing together for joy." It was well-adapted well for the mountain setting. First Congregational Church of Salt Lake City was the first non-Mormon religious organization to set up shop in that part of the country. Today they are one of our sister churches, and they hosted this year's meeting.
The theme struck a chord for me since it came on the heels of the most beautiful train trip I've ever taken. Amtrak's California Zephyr route goes along the old Rio Grande line, right through the Rockies. I traversed on my road excursions through northeast and north central Kansas before going up into McCook, Nebraska to board the train in the early morning. The ride took us into Denver, through the Rockies, and out into Salt Lake City. We saw mountains, tunnels, lakes, streams, river-rafters, fly-fishermen, campers, and various kinds of wildlife. All of these pictures were taken from the train...
This year's Bible lecturer was pretty controversial; she said a number of things that alot of us didn't agree with. But one of her better points was her description of what she called “neo-philia” (not to be confused with necrophilia) - a love for the things we encounter afresh in the created order. She described it in relation to Proverbs 8:23-31 where divine wisdom takes delight in humanity and in all the other parts of creation. It brings to mind any number of Bible passages that ooh and ahh over the created order. She told the story of going on a walk with her friend’s three-year old child and gave this as an image for it, since children instinctively have a fresh interest in everything they see.
This also goes along well with Jesus’ instructions to be like children. And it also seemed to juxtapose well with the bigger theme of the meeting (collectively) and all the beautiful mountain scenes that I saw on my train trip to Utah (personally). Too often it’s easy to miss out on how the creation testifies to the creator. Part of faith-life is taking in the full-value of what we see. It reminded me a bit of a musing I read some years ago on I Corinthians 3:21 – “All things are yours.” The divine order of creation is ever-present, right in front of us. And its inspiring beauty points us to God.