ImageThis summer, by combining our 25th wedding anniversary (which will be next year) and the 50th birthday of my wife, we took a seven day cruise to Alaska.  This was something that my wife has been dreaming of for many years and something about which I became more enthused after I had a short river cruise in China.  Therefore, we flew to Seattle where we took the Holland American Oosterdam and cruised to Alaska with stops in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria, B.C.   One more specific point that has to be made was that this cruise was done by Inspiration Cruises (a Christian organization) and the artist hosting this cruise was Michael W. Smith, one of my wife's favorite contemporary singers.

Of all the trips that I have taken within the last 40 years of my life I place this one up there with a trip to the Holy Land. My trip to the Holy Land is still number one, but this one comes very close to it.  One can even say that a trip to the Holy Land is the salvation story while the trip to Alaska is the creation story.

Alaska can be described in superlatives. When one looks to the vastness of the forests and the waters and becomes aware that they are teeming with life, it feels like we are intruding into something that is so splendid.  When one approaches the Hubbard Glacier and becomes aware that this glacier is 3 times the height of the ten deck levels of the ship one becomes silent at the majesty of this glacier.  When you look around and see the blue skies and hear the thunders and the rumblings of the glacier and then see sections fall off into the water, you see how small we human beings are.

For me this trip has been a sacred feast, marveling at the beauty of God's creation and being refreshed by it.  As I was pondering, I remembered the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn who spent over 10 years in Siberia, and wrote that there are people who look at a leaf and they praise God and there are people who see the whole forest and are adamant atheists.  For the Holy Scriptures are clear that the universe was created by the Father for the enjoyment of the Son.  Moreover, it tells us that the Triune God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, entrusted the upkeep of the earth to human beings who God created in His image. He gave the earth to us to enjoy, to cultivate and to remember always that it is His.

"O Lord, our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth." (Psalm 8:1)

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...