Actor Jimmy Stewart is loved for his extraordinary depth in both career and character. The film Harvey is a Stewart classic and my favorite among his lifework. As Elwood P. Dowd, he roams the town with Harvey, a six-foot tall invisible rabbit. When a psychiatric doctor inquires about the rabbit-friend, Elwood explains that mostly he and Harvey sit in bars and listen to stories. In that classic Stewart voice he says:
[People] tell us about the big terrible things they've done. And the big wonderful things they'll do. And their hopes, their regrets, their loves, and their hates-all very large-because nobody ever brings anything small into a bar. And then I introduce them to Harvey. And he's bigger and grander than anything they offer me. And when they leave, they leave impressed.
In the book of Isaiah, the prophet tells of an experience where he encountered the Lord as one far greater than anything he knew before. When he left, he was not merely impressed, he was overcome with awe. Writes Isaiah, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne high and lofty, and the hem of his robe filled the temple" (Isaiah 6:1).
Isaiah's encounter with the grandeur of God is particularly interesting in light of the circumstances under which it took place. God appeared to Isaiah during a time of international crisis. The death of good King Uzziah took a king of 52 years off the very throne that brought a divided kingdom back to the life and prosperity it knew under David and Solomon. Isaiah was understandably defeated. It was all in the year of Uzziah's death that Isaiah saw the death of a good and able king, the rise of a wicked and selfish king, and the decline of the kingdom he loved.
Isaiah entered the temple with distress and loss, despair and confusion-all very large. And then, Isaiah says, he saw the Lord, and the hem of his robe filled the temple. The prophet had come to worship grieving a king and in the midst of his pain had an encounter with a throne of greater caliber. God's kingship was far bigger and grander than anything he had imagined.
Whatever our circumstances, let us not hide from the one who offers to stand beside us and asks that we cast our cares upon Him. As a friend is fond of saying, worship is an encounter with one who is "always bigger than what's the matter." In the awe-inspiring presence of God our worries are put into perspective. Perhaps it is not that our anxieties are smaller than we perceive them, but that God Himself is far greater than we perceive Him. We have yet to see even a hem of the grandeur of his kingship. In the words of the psalmist, let us worship at his footstool, and leave impressed, for He is holy.
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A UNC class took their annual school trip to the Yellowstone National Park with a chaperon who was also their science professor at UNC. The Professor wishing to show her intelligence said to their guide, "Look at all those big rocks. Wherever did they come from?"
"The glaciers brought them down," said the guide.
"But where are the glaciers?"
"The glaciers," said the guide in a weary voice, "have gone back for more rocks."
..Toothaches always start on Friday night right before the weekend when the Dental Office will be closed.
*1925: World's first motel opened in California
In the California city of San Luis Obispo, by the side of the highway that runs along the Pacific coast, the Milestone Motel was opened. It was the first motel: a type of hotel designed specifically for motorists to stop for the night in the course of an automobile trip. Later renamed the Motel Inn, it is still doing business today.
California motel site, featuring the Motel Inn: http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/wooda/motelcalifornia.html