One Hundred And Forty-Three Feet

June 2, 2001
by Mary Daniel

Psalm 104:8 – They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them. (KJV)

1 Corinthians 2:10 – But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (KJV)

Romans 8:39 – Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (KJV)

One of my favourite things to do is to visit old churches. I love to sit and savour the silence; soak up the scent of the old, old wooden pews; run my hand along their smooth seats and backs; absorb in awe the architecture, the craftsmanship; get a sense of and appreciate the many souls who have worshipped there through the ages and the joys experienced at baptisms and marriages, tears shed for the departed.

I like to browse through the hymnbooks to see which ones I recognize, and I love to see the sun stream through the stained glass windows. If there is a pipe organ, my imagination lets me sit for a second and play just one piece.

And I love to share this time in private prayer.

On one such visit, a trek to the top of the church tower was there for the asking: one hundred and forty-three feet up, each step a foot. Ninety-eight steps were narrow, circular and encased in cement. The remaining forty-five were wider and made of wood.

Lights had been added to the cemented section, but it seemed I could "see" those who had made the trek with lighted candles a century or so before. Two-thirds of the way up, outside light shone through windows, illuminating a little landing, where visitors could reflect on how far they'd come and clearly see the little door which would take them to where they wanted to be.

"Breathtaking" doesn't even begin to describe what one feels when one steps through the door and onto the roof overlooking the city, ocean, trees, and clusters of clouds in the blue, blue sky.

I compared my elation at this height with that of my daughter when she bungie-jumped a depth of one hundred and forty three feet through a beautiful canyon where water wafted by below, a bonus offered by one of her jobs. I had been fearful for her, not wanting to watch, yet, having said she'd like me to be there, I went and was glad, and I now know her joy in her jump was as great as mine in my climb.

Neither height nor depth can separate us from God — it may however, serve to heighten or deepen our love and appreciation for all that He lays before us.

Prayer: Guide us, Father, in our daily endeavours, that we may see you and your works in whatever we undertake to do — whether we are working, exploring new territory, taking on new challenges, visiting on vacation, or accepting new risks. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Daniel <marydee@shaw.ca>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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