We stood in line for over an hour and finally reached the top.  The roof was packed with camera toting, awe-inspired, loud people.  Did I say packed? I like the quiet. I have no problem being alone and, in fact, tend to seek out sanctuaries of solace.  I’ve always resonated with Elijah’s mountain moment – a place where wind and fire and earthquake could not conjure what the quiet would provide.  While I love the art of preaching and often feed on the well-crafted sermons of colleagues, I am typically more drawn to meditation rather than the mental meanderings of a fellow human being.  I know everyone isn’t bent this way; I am.  My bend has often lured me into less than perfect situations…

Several years ago, I led a mission team to New York City’s post-9/11 environment.  We spent several days working with a local congregation – building a new playground, teaching children and repairing a building.  Every minute of the mission experience was carefully crafted on my meticulously timed itinerary.  Copies of such were distributed to all participants. And if I may say so, I had done a fabulous job of insuring that our team would have an experience they would remember for a lifetime.  Our first evening in the Big Apple was to be spent in prayer.  Before laying a hand on a hammer or sharing a word with a city citizen, I wanted us to pray.  What better place than the top of the Empire State Building.  Our group standing there…looking out over the electrically lit city…holding hands…in the quiet…all alone…praying. After all, I’d seen the 1993 cinematic tear-jerker Sleepless in Seattle. I watched as Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan held hands and gazed lovingly at each other.  And I noted…there is no one else up there!  Our group can have the top of the Empire State Building all to ourselves…

We stood in line for over an hour and finally reached the top.  The roof was packed with camera toting, awe inspired, loud people.  Did I say packed?  (A month ago I was in Las Vegas.  I went to watch the Bellagio fountains.  I’m such a savvy traveler now.  I knew there would be a crowd and I knew no one from the Oceans 11 cast would be standing there.  You live and learn.)

We joined the crowd…and we got loud…and I think we all prayed – rubbing shoulders with the world and gazing through our camera lenses at the skyline of the city.  And God was there.  Sometimes I like it when God gets noisy…

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