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On Faith: Breathe deep because Zion is all around us

June 15, 2012|By Mark Wiley

Our family learned this in a small way in Zion. We had gone on the river hike. Our daughter was in the stroller. Things were going well until the hike back. The cliffs of Zion are sandstone. Sandstone crumbles into sand.

And sand got into the bearings of her stroller. It died. We had no idea the stroller was not an all-terrain stroller. We were surrounded by beauty and wonder, but all we could think about was that we killed the stroller.

But if sanctuary and refuge is so easy to lose, can it really be that hard to find?

One of the common themes of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is that God cares for the world. God drops by occasionally, and even miraculously intervenes in the world. God is not content to stay cooped up in heaven. The Holy Spirit is already on the loose. Jesus does come out to play! God loves to come by for afternoon tea.


In the 17th century, Brother Lawrence discovered that his work station — the kitchen sink — could become a holy altar. The laundry room could be sacred ground.

Even the bathroom had a spiritual dimension. Can we not ask God to clean our souls as we wash our faces? He discovered the spiritual trick: any place can be Zion, if we focus on God's Presence.

Could it be that our search to find Zion is the very thing that hinders our finding it? Maybe we are too busy searching for holy places; we miss the holy in the place where we are?

What if the makeup mirror in our house was the front porch to heaven? What if the office meeting room was a sanctuary? What if the very place our lives are broken is the place of sanctuary, refuge, and safety?

I think God is just as comfortable in the parking lot as in the cathedral, in the emergency room as the national park, at the kitchen sink as the high altar. Breathe deep where you are now because the next view may take your breath away.

MARK WILEY is pastor of Mesa Verde United Methodist Church in Costa Mesa.

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