My first view of the Rocky Mountains was as a teenager. I was to spend a summer serving churches in the lower mainland as a student intern. After training in Toronto, I flew to meet my parents in Calgary and we drove to Vancouver. Anyone who has made the trip knows that you see the Rockies on the horizon from a distance and it takes forever to reach them! But the wait is worth it. They are massive and majestic. The shadows in the distance become towers of rock and trees. Clouds hang on their peaks. My neck was strained from staring, but I couldn’t look away. I had never seen anything like them.
Years later Miriam and I moved to Edmonton with our two children. They had never been west, so I promised them a trip at our first opportunity. With fall in the air and a weekend free, we drove from Edmonton for a time in Jasper. I kept promising a vision of mountains that would stun them. They rolled their eyes. Since we got a late start, we spent much of our drive in the dark. We checked into a hotel at the foot of the mountains which were hidden by the night. I knew they were there - but unseen. In the morning light, we headed for breakfast nearby. Two steps out the hotel door, my son saw the monumental granite for the first time. He literally fell over as if the sight compelled him to his knees. We all laughed, not simply at his stumbling, but because the actual sight of majesty was better than any description possible.
The dictionary defines ”majesty” as stately dignity or beauty. It applies to the pageantry of monarchs. It describes well the scope and beauty of mountains that fill your sight. It fits ultimately as a divine adjective. God is filled with majesty. “The Lord reigns; He is clothed in majesty!” (Ps.93:1) We have no better word to portray His reign, size and beauty. Even at that, the language proves inferior. We have no way of painting the dimension and grandeur of God. It’s like trying to describe the Rockies to cynical teens. But know this, when His Majesty is glimpsed, it will bowl us over and knock us to our knees.
By now, I have seen the Rockies more than a few times. They haven’t changed, but I have. I have been immunized to them. It’s possible to take the granite for granted. Can I recover a sense of wonder? I find that if I spend time with them, my eyesight and appreciation are restored. You can’t appreciate the Rockies from a distance. You have to get close. May it be true for all of us with God. To those who read the words but lack the awe. To those who saw once, but are now distracted. To those who begin to think that God is diminished. To those who feel enlarged and in charge. May the majesty of God be revived in our souls - by being with Him and seeing.