Power in the Beauty
The other day I had a friend share with me an interesting fact about Niagara Falls. Apparently, much of the water that flows down the Niagara River towards the falls is diverted. The water is directed elsewhere, away from its typical path in order to be used for electrical power.
This is always the case. Except, and this is the “interesting fact” part, during the summer months. During the summer, a far smaller amount of the water is diverted, not because we use less electrical power in the summer-- if anything our air conditioners and fans cause us to use more power -- but because the summer months are the peak tourism times at Niagara Falls.
Now, when my friend told me this I thought it was one of the dumber things I had ever heard. I’ve seen the Falls during January, when supposedly more water is diverted away, and believe me it is still very impressive. Why would anyone go to all the trouble (and surrender so much potential energy) by letting more water flow during tourist season?
But, before I could even make this argument to my friend, he said something that made me reconsider: “Isn’t the real power of Niagara Falls not the electricity that it can produce but it’s overwhelming beauty?”
It’s the same with much of what happens at church. As a Pastor, I put a lot of effort into creative new ideas, clever sermons, and moving worship services, but ultimately the real power of Christianity comes through the simple beauty of its message.
“The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is given for you, do this in remembrance of me.” - 1 Corinthians 11:24
The simple yet beautiful Christian message is this: Christ died for us. Through ordinary bread and wine we proclaim this beautiful truth at Communion. But we also proclaim this powerful truth in all sorts of simple ways: through water at baptism, through the words of Scripture, through the act of gathering together in community-- these are simple practices that illustrate and proclaim the powerful truth of God’s love for us.
May we discover the simple, yet powerful beauty of God in our lives. Amen.