Summer in Calgary brings the Calgary Stampede, “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.” During Stampede Week, much of Calgary gets into the Stampede spirit–dressing Western, sporting cowboy boots and hats, and eating pancakes. Pancake breakfasts abound, many of them free, and our family likes to hit one or two during the week, to eat, listen to country music, and be part of the general Stampede spirit.
Last year, for the first time, we went to the breakfast sponsored by Chinook Centre. There was not only syrup, but chocolate or fruit, on the pancakes, so that was enough to motivate us to go again this year! Hubby and I met up with our daughter and toddler grandson, and we joined the first pancake line we saw.
As we moved ahead, we noticed police and security guards standing around, somewhat unusual for a breakfast in a shopping centre parking lot. Then we noticed some guards standing on the top tower of the mall, looking down over the crowd. Some celebrity must be around, we thought. Moving further along, Lloyd got a glimpse that explained all the extra security. “That’s why,” he said, cocking his head to indicate the Prime Minister flipping pancakes–in our line.
Our pancakes were served by none other than the leader of Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He shook hands with every person he served, and we chatted briefly. My photo was taken and I was handed a card with a photo number on it so that I could email his office for a copy. Meeting the PM was one highlight of my day and of my Stampede week.
As I think about it, it occurs to me that meeting this famous Canadian leader does not mean I know him, and he does not know me from the many other faces he spoke to and hands he shook that day. It’s fun to meet a famous person and shake his hand. However, with all due respect to the Prime Minister (and I suspect he would agree), I have met and know Someone much greater than the Prime Minister, One who knows me and whom I know. I have a personal relationship with the Living God, the Creator of the universe, the Lord Almighty, my Savior and Friend! He created and formed me and knows me inside and out. (Psalm 139:13-16; 1 Cor 8:3) Better than the fact that he knows me, he loves me, warts and all. (Jeremiah 31:3) And because he loves me, he forgives my sin and adopted me as his child, with all the benefits thereof. (1 John 1:9; Ephesians 1:5-8; 1 John 3:1) I am known by him, I am loved by him, I am a part of his family, and I want to know him in a deeper way! (Hosea 6:3)
Pondering the famous recalls a famous place I visited on the trip I was privileged to take to Israel this past May with a group from Foothills. On a rainy morning in Jerusalem, we made our way to the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall. This place is, to the Jews, the most holy place on earth, the place where they are closest to God. The Wall is the closest surviving part of the walls that surrounded the ancient temple, where the Jewish people worshipped their holy God; now they stand at the Wall to pray and stuff their written petitions into cracks in the Wall. As I approached and prayed at the Wall, it occurred to me that I can talk to God at any time, in any place, about anything. Though it was very meaningful and memorable for me to join the generations of God’s people who have poured out their hearts to God in that special place, I had no more direct a line to God there than I do at any other time, in any other place. (Psalm 145:18; Joel 2:32)
How wonderful that our Mighty God knows us so well, is so approachable, so forgiving, and so willing for us to know Him in a personal way! Having a relationship with Him beats knowing famous faces and being in famous places any day!
Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for creating and knowing me. I am grateful for your everlasting love and your willingness to forgive my sin again and again, and that you made me your child when I invited you into my life. Thank you that you delight to hear and answer when I call out to you, wherever and whenever that may be. Help me to know you in a deeper way as I grow in my relationship with You. May I always remember that my best relationship is with you, despite the people and places that come my way. Amen.
Contributed by Sharon Anderson