Take a look at the people in this photo. How do they strike you? What can you tell from the expression on their faces?
This photo was taken at Niagara Falls just last week. It was a strange place to be! It was crowded, people were, well, not exactly shoving, but “close,” moving quickly, not bothered about each other, impatient to get on with their sightseeing. Not only was the atmosphere thick with people, but there were also many languages and nationalities represented. I heard more Japanese, Korean and Chinese than I think I’ve heard anywhere but San Francisco’s Chinatown. I heard Arabic, German and (much lower down on the list) Spanish. The diversity of nationalities were as dense as the people. It wasn’t a melting pot so much as a chafing dish and chock full of different “ingredients.” How could this mass of people and breadth of language be appealing to anyone? How did it become a positive description of what it means to be a United States citizen?
As John & I rode the Maid of the Mist–the cruise near the falls–all of us on the ship were united in awe, looking first at the American Falls, then riding into the center of the Horseshoe Falls, pointing, taking pictures, fleeing the sudden spray when the wind changed, laughing.
This was nothing compared to the Cave of the Winds tour. We got up close and personal with the Bridal Veil Falls, trudging up and down the stairs, admiring the little falls and protected areas beneath the rubble and then at last reaching the Hurricane Deck where, in the top
corner of the deck, the Bridal Veil Falls lash out at you with the force only tons of falling water can have…and you feel exhilarated by the forces of nature, amazed by the feel, the smell, the sight, the taste. You laugh out loud. You feel joy.
Take a look at the photo again. This was taken just to the side of the Hurricane Deck. Do these people appear full of cares? Disturbed? Worried? They aren’t. These are the faces of people who have tasted joy due to awe-inspiring and fully experienced beauty.
If I had any doubts about the ability of all humans to be able to worship God with their entire beings, it was cured by a day at Niagara Falls.