Just a hunch here: The view from inside the gondola is a lot more exciting in February than in August.
Now, don’t get me wrong: During our recent visit to Breckenridge, Colorado, I was really grateful for the free (and nearly effortless) ride up to 9,970 feet at Base 8. But the view from inside the gondola itself was rather disappointing. The cable-car’s tinted Plexiglas, you see, bore the scars of countless skiers – and their equipment – who’d gone before us.
No doubt, this is an impediment you’re eagerly willing to overlook in February, when you’re about to hit the slopes. But in August – when the point of the trip is more about sight-seeing than schussing – the encumbered view becomes a bit off-putting.
Far more engaging, we found, were the views and vistas we enjoyed at many other points during our week+ in Colorado. And that’s one of the beauties of travel, isn’t it? You get to see parts of creation that tend to take your breath away. Majestic mountain peaks, sure…along with many more-approachable facets of simple splendor: a weathered tree trunk here, a crystal alpine lake there, and gently-waving stands of amber grain along the way.
Such a blessing it was, to be able to encounter so much of Colorado’s grandeur from outside the gondola! And a lesson, perhaps, too in perception: How often, I wonder, do we allow our senses to be clouded over by the tint-and-scratches of sinfulness in our lives?
This is not what God desires for us, as we hear in Sunday’s readings. Rather, Isaiah assures us that God comes “with divine recompense…to save you.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
Today, and always, we are invited to encounter this sort of transformative grace – in the person of Jesus. He is himself a traveler in the story we hear this week, who “went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis.” But even though a stranger in those parts, Jesus still invites all to experience his saving power anew. And as they realize soon enough, is it ever a sight for sore eyes!
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well…”
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.