Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said. 34While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 35Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’ 36When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. Luke 9:28-36
After you you park, and walk toward the visitor's center there is a sign that explains this is a sacred religious site for Native American tribes. Most people moved right into hiking around the base or getting their gear ready to climb to the top. As you are there at the bottom where you can see how there massive rocks have fallen off and are just lying around the bottom. You wonder about the wisdom of people climbing up the side of the Tower. But for me, I stopped at the sign. I read about the sacredness of this space. For Native Americans this is a space where they draw closer to God. This is a place of prayer and ceremony for the original people's of this land.
Prayers floating in the breeze.
And the tap tap tap of hammers as the climbers put wholes into the rock so they could say they ascended the Tower.
White people climbing a rock for fun.
Prayers and a feeling a sacredness and wonder.
A modern pilgrimage to conquer the top.
Prayers and Wonder.
A place to leap off the top of with your parachute to get down the easy way.
Renaming of the site from Mato Tipila, which means “Bear Lodge,” or Grey Horn Butte, He Hota Paha, Bear Rock or Bear Mountain, Tree Rock, and Grizzly Bear Lodge. The first white people took one name the Bad God's Tower to the Devil's Tower.
A place of prayer becomes a Devil's Tower making it easier to see it as a site to conquer, to try your skills at.
A place of prayer.
|the base of the Mato Tipila|
As we begin our Lenten journey this week, I am reminded of this encounter in a sacred place where a place of prayer had become a place of recreation. I wanted to be reminded of the beauty and sacredness where we stop from our normal life and invite God to be present with us. This lent I hope we can take time to stop in those sacred places and listen for God and allow God to draw near to us. I hope we be reminded that God draws near to us in moments and times that cause us to leave behind the ordinary and rest in the stillness of God's Peace.