On Sunday mornings I don’t sleep in. I go to a church service at 8 o’clock with small group of early risers. There’s no music, except some occasional a capella sung around the altar during communion. The traditional Rite 1 service and the readings from the Bible give me a sense of continuity with history. The thought-provoking sermons assure me that I am on the right path, and challenge me to go further. It’s a good way to recharge my batteries for the week ahead.
When I go to the desert, I don’t go to church. I join other four-wheelers exploring the rocky trails, helping each other find the line through the most challenging parts. We explore old mines or cabin sites, long abandoned for profit or permanent shelter, but still enjoyed by those of us who visit. We might take a hike through the pinyon forest with the birds singing all around. We have lunch surrounded by humbling geology and remarkable wildlife. After a day on the trail, we gather again to share stories of our adventures, recent and long ago. When night falls, a few more memories are made around the campfire, or in quiet time gazing up at the ocean of desert stars.
These trips to the desert feel much the same as the early service on Sunday mornings. In both, I join a small community exploring a beautiful historical landscape, and when we’re lucky, we feel a little closer to God.