Tahoe and an Ethos of Worship

Having climbed up a way through the trees, I sit between two falls. The craggy edges of the rocks meet ever-pounding waters in a ceaseless pile of tumbling water. Aspen leaves tinkle like little bells in the breeze, the trunks growing white and slender, like lithe nymphs, out of the rocks strewn on the banks; the fathers of bonsai twist out of the bright bank on the other side. Cone-bearing trees tower silent and stately over the rocks and the falls, smaller trees waving paper leaves in their shadow. I lift my eyes to the mountains and the swirling skies: rocky faces with woody stubble stare down at me, and clouds float unaware of my existence.

Be still. Sit by a waterfall in a cascade of roaring waters rushing from far up beyond your sight, and you will see that the mighty Lord who lives and reigns even when the last rock has worn away, even when the mountain stream has dried up, cannot be made to appear other than he is: he cannot be made to seem another God than this Almighty One who became flesh – not disguised himself, but became the very flesh of man – and tabernacled among us.

Now the heavens are high above, yet we have been brought near. We rejoice here, and cherubim and seraphim surround the great throne of the Holy Name, with heavenly voices and the thunder of a thousand crashing waterfalls. The majesty of the Lord abides in the temple of his mystical Body, the Church. The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.

And behold, YHWH passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before YHWH, but YHWH was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but YHWH was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but YHWH was not in the fire. And after the fire a sound, a thin silence. (I Kings 19.11–12)

The seraphim cover their faces with their wings, and the Shekinah once with the Ark of the Covenant is present, body and blood in sacrament, the mystical Body of Christ having been lifted up into the heavenly places.

Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts; Yet once a little while and I will shake the heav’ns and the earth, the sea and the dry land: And I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come (Haggai 2.6–7). The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts (Malachi 3.1). We tremble with the joy of the Lord’s coming, for he has visited and redeemed his people.

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