Reflect – this has been our theme for the entire week. Our devotionals have all had some element of this idea, and now as I sit on the plane for the last leg of the trip back to San Antonio it is time to reflect upon the last week that we have spent together.
Yesterday we had the privilege to experience various places in Banff National Park. It was this area that first inspired me to consider the theme of reflecting Christ in our lives. If you do a quick google search of any of the lakes in Banff you will see exactly why I was motivated in this direction. When still the lakes are a perfect mirror of the mountains and beauty that surround them. This was it, it was an excellent metaphor for our walk as believers. We, as image-bearers of the Creator of the universe, are all called to reflect the character and nature of the almighty in our lives. Whether any of us recognize it or not, we all created in his image. When we recognize this, we get out of the way and let the Father shine. It doesn’t take much to disturb this placid serenity, however. It is only when we are perfectly at peace and still that we truly can reflect. When we let things disturb that peace, the waters are muddied, and the reflection is blurred. This is a life long journey, and we will never do it perfectly, but our goal is to reflect Jesus more than ourselves.
What an incredible blessing, then, that we were able to journey to these places and see how God has beautifully demonstrated this for us in nature. If you followed the weather at all you would have probably been discouraged for us, but true to the week we were exceedingly blessed with sunshine and no rain. It was amazing. We began the morning with another pancake breakfast that was held right next to the dorms where we stayed. As we were eating it began to rain, and it gave cause for concern. We hastily finished and loaded the vans. The forecast indicated that there was not to be an hour of our day that did not have at least a 40% chance of rain, and it was mostly over 60%. We were hopeful, and had nothing else planned, so we journeyed west from Calgary toward Banff.
Our first stop was Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. As we drove it was dark, cloudy, and ominous. As we approached the mountains clouds hung around the tops like a scarf wrapped around the rocks to keep them warm. We were indeed out of our Texas element. We had to keep reminding ourselves that it was July 15th even though the temperature was in the low 50’s. Although the clouds never fully dissipated, the rain stopped and some sun broke through just as we arrived at our first location. The water, depending on the sun, vacillated between unique shades of green and blue. It was beautiful. We hiked, took pictures, enjoyed the cool air, and marveled at the beauty.
We then drove down the mountain to the very popular Lake Louise. This amazing lake has an incredible chateau on one end and mountains with glaciers on the other. This was a great opportunity to take a time for lunch, a couple of devotionals, and more hiking. There are endless trails to follow, and an unending source of inspiration as you enjoy the natural setting. This is what we had been waiting for, and once again the weather was beautiful. There will be many pictures shared in the coming days, none of which will do justice to the real experience, but they will be a reminder to us of having been will trigger the memories made on this trip.
Almost on cue as we headed back to the vans, the thunder reminded us to be grateful for the respite from the rain. We loaded and headed for the town of Banff. This is a wonderful community tucked in among the mountains. Most of the souvenirs you will see from the students came from this stop. Great shopping, great food, and great rain. Well, we had to get a little wet. Our spirits were not dampened in the least as we gathered once again for the trip back to Calgary. Stories and pictures were shared. There was a real sense of gratitude for having had this experience. To cap off our week we went to A&W and all had root beer floats and shakes, a gift from one of the churches we served as a way to say thanks.
The Chapel Singers and parents will not soon forget this trip for many reasons. We learned lessons about patience, about gratitude, about relying on God and not ourselves. Hopefully their understanding of who God is and how he provides is a bit bigger and clearer after this experience. Please come and share with us Sunday July 17 at 6:00 in the sanctuary as we present our home concert. Thank you for praying us through this wonderful mission experience.