gone to the lake: finding God “near nature, near perfect”

Written for the July/August 2017 Cathedral Chimes Newsletter

One of the most common expressions, Facebook posts, casual conversation starters in this region is the phrase “Gone to the lake.” We truly are blessed to be in such a space like the Inland Northwest, where mountains, forests, valleys, streams, rivers, and of course, lakes, dominate the geographical landscape that we call home. And it is in this geographical landscape, in this sentiment of going to the lake (whether it be the traditional family lake cabin passed down from generation to generation or getting out on the water in the family boat), that we not only find our rest from this world, but, when we simply open our eyes, we also find God.

And as we sit on the dock, or in the bow, we look out over the water and amaze at the sparkling blue water that surrounds us. At the green of the trees that dot the shore. At the blue of the sky that seems to stretch on forever. It is in these moments that we soak in God’s creation. It is in these moments that we are drawn a little closer to God.

Spokane proudly declares itself “Near Nature, Near Perfect” and I think that speaks not just to the general attitude that permeates our shared culture of being so close to the ability to get outdoors, enjoying the opportunities that abound all around us, but also to a sense that we really do live an area that is as close to perfection as we are going to find on this green Earth. “Near Nature, Near Perfect” then serves as a reminder to us, that even as the doldrums of office life, of school, of making and keeping a home, drain us, the escape to a place of life-giving, life-invigorating beauty and adventure await us as we step out the door. We are near nature, and therefore we are near the perfection that is God’s creation all around us.

And that is truly what we get to enjoy, a slice of God’s creation where God was really showing off. There is unique beauty to be found in all of the regions of our state, our country, our world, but there is something so special, so beautiful, so plentiful in our region that you can’t help but appreciate the greatness of creation everywhere you look. As I look out from St. John’s Cathedral every Sunday preparing to serve in one of man’s testaments to God’s beauty, I can seek Mt. Spokane off in the distance, and am reminded constantly of the natural beauty that is at our fingertips, and give thanks and praise for the opportunity to experience this beauty daily.

As you head out to the lake this summer, as you hike one of the many trails in the area, as you take in all of the beauty that surrounds us, remember to marvel in the perfection that lies all around you, remember to soak in the presence of God that is felt through the gift of God’s creation.

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