Volume 3 - No. 1
A DIVINE PLAN FOR REST AND RECREATION
By Morris U. Lively,
By observation of natural laws, and of the phenomena of nature, it will be seen that an omniscient and an omnipotent Providence has decreed that man must have periods of rest and recreation, as well as re-creation. In order that man may have such rest there must be a time and place for retirement from the activities of life; a time and place when and where man can set the burden down and rest his weary body and soul from the work-a-day tasks, and at the same time he may re-create attitudes toward mental and spiritual values.
A most poignant teaching relative to the value of rest is found in the story of the life of Jesus. Often He said to His disciples, "Let us go aside and rest." His duties were many and trying. At times great throngs pressed about Him, and He, doubtless, found His strength sapped. When He felt that He and His followers needed rest, He would retire to a mountain side or some other secluded spot, where He could be alone for a period of meditation and quiet. There were even times when He asked that He be not disturbed by the very ones who sought His help.
The thought of places for quiet and rest are illustrated further in the New Testament. Saint Paul tells us that after his call on tho way to Damascus he went to the desert for two years of mediation and study. He chose a place away from the hub-bub of daily life where he might prepare himelf for the work for which he had been chosen. Another illustration is seen in the story of Saint John. One may envision him as sitting in a secluded spot on the Isle of Patmos as he was told the mysteries which form our book of the Apocalypse.
Likewise the patriarchs whom we meet in the pages of the Old Testament had places of quiet and solitude to which they retired at intervals for spiritual re-creation. Probably it was in a secluded valley (Scripture says it was the "back of the wilderneses") on Mount Horeb that Moses had the vision of the burning bush, and where God commissioined him as the general who was to lead the Children of Israel from the Egyptian bondage.
And there is the story of Elijah, who is considered the greatest of all the prophets. Never was there a more sincere fight made for the right than the one which he made against the priests of Beal, and their champion, that archfiend of womanhood, Queen Jezebel. At last, hounded ss he was mentally, and pursued as he was physically, by Jezebel, he fled to a cave on Mount Horeb. As he lay in the quiet of that fastness a Still Small Voice spoke to him, and bade him fight on.
God has provided places where man may have the rest which it has been ordained that he shall and must have. If a map of any region is examined it will be seen that there are certain areas and localities which are, apparently, best suited to recreational purposes. As a general thing the soil in those places is very poor and unproductive. In many instances massive boulders have been thrown up in grotesque shapes, and it would appear that a Demiurge had become mad, and while in the heat of his rage he had thrown the rock about helter-skelter. In those places there are generally swift and turbulent streams that rush over cataracts sand waterfalls. Wildlife abounds in profusion, unless men has killed it in his greed. A virgin forest may form a coat for the region. The leaves fall from the trees and mingle with wild flowers to form a carpet.
It may be that in one of those spots a tiny stream has worked for aeons of time to cut its way through the rock, and thus is left a canyon. And men come and marvel at the beauty. Or it may be that the Great Architect has gone underneath the surface of the earth and carved the subterranean formations into indescribable beauty, and that He has kept all of that sublimity hidden throughout the ages until the time comes when He thinks best to reveal its loction to man.
The United States has been blessed with beauty spots so sublime that our citizens should feel as do the Mohammedans regarding a pilgrimmage to Mecca, a trip must be made during one's life time. Mention might be made of that curious collection of rock, known as the Garden of the Gods, which is just outside Colorado Springs, Colorado. We might think of the beauties of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming; of the giant readwood trees of California, and of the beautiful fir trees in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington. There is the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. One may turn east from the Canyon and go underground in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. No one can say that any one of these spots is the "most beautiful", for each is majestic and sublime. Man can only say that he has not adjectives to describe that which the eye hath beheld.
Tho ere are hundreds of people, however, who may never have the means with which to travel and see the great national parks of America. But God has not forrgotten, nor has He slighted, those people, for in each locality, and usually at intervals of a very few miles, there are spots which it seems were created for recreational purposes, and to which those without script or purse may go for pleasure. The writer has in mind such local places as the Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas; and Beaver's Bend, Lake Murray, and Osage Hills State Parks, in Oklahoma. There is indeed a spiritual refreshment to watch the people come to enjoy, and to rest in, these places.
I would like to ask those who work with the National Park Service to have a spiritual attitude toward their work. Let them be justly proud of their accomplishments, not in the mere physical work which has been, and will be wrought, but in the spiritual aspect. Those who work to build our parks should feel, to use the words of Saint Paul, that they are co-laborers with God, and that they are helping to fulfill His divine purpose on earth. They should feel in their very souls that they are helping to create, and to maintain places where man may rest, relax, and renew himself for the work of life. Let them feel that rest is necessary, and that God set the example, for we read that lie rested after the work of creation.
The Grand Canyon is "so much in the way" that ranchmen living in the Toroweap Valley section of Grand Canyon National Monument, adjoining the national park, must travel more than 500 miles to reach the county seat in Kingman, Arizona, which is less than 100 miles by airline. One of these residents who lives in the south end of the valley, nearest the north rim of the canyon has to detour through two other states to reach the courthouse of the Arizona county in which he lives. He must go north via Short Creek, Arizona, to Saint George, Utah, thence southwest to Las Vegas, Nevada, and over Boulder Dam to Kingman.
A rather common belief that some sense organ always enables bats in swift flight to avoid obstacles they can't see, was disproved in a series of night experiments in the Chisos Mountains area of the proposed Big Bend National Park, in Texas. Several fine wires were stretched across a large water tank frequented for drink. Many of the mammals struck the wires and fell into the water. All were rescued, uninjured.
Keeping your feet on the ground while you're up in the air is easy enough in Alaska's Mt. McKinley National Park, whose highest point the nation's attic - pierces tho clouds at an elevation of 20,300 feet above sea level. Loftiest of all North American peaks, McKinley, whose southern summit has been climbed by less than a dozen people, rises 17,000 feet above timber line. No other mountain in the world rises so far above its own base. These Indians call it Denali - home of the sun.
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