By Jim Nieman
Zion National Park in southern Utah is a true wonder to tour and explore.
As with so much of Utah, Mormon settlers named the area, and the name they chose aptly befits the beauty of the park. Zion can mean a place or refuge or sanctuary, or utopia, or Heaven. They felt that being in Zion brought them close to God.
Christians can appreciate the names given to the various sandstone rocks, peaks, and formations in the park. Names like Cathedral Mountain, Angels Landing, Castle Dome, the East Temple and West Temple, the Great White Throne, and the Court of the Patriarchs above which rise the three side-by-side peaks called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
A person living there would be hard-pressed to wake up each morning and not think of God and his creation. And if the sights ceased to awe a person after a few months or years, the names would serve to remind them of God.
The items that make up the Lord’s Supper, when seen merely as food, are not nearly so stunning. A piece of bread, some juice from grapes. Not much to them. But the beauty of what these items symbolize and what Christ did for us outshine mere geography.
The bread represents Christ’s body, given for us. The juice symbolizes Christ’s blood, shed for us. The sight and taste of these symbols, the entire act of partaking, serve to remind us of Christ’s sacrifice—his perfect gift.
Jesus lived a perfect life and died for the imperfect so that we might be made perfect in God’s sight.
God has taken the rocks of southern Utah and made them beautiful to our eyes.
But his son, Jesus, through his sacrifice, has made us beautiful in God’s eyes.
And as a bonus, he has called us to remember his beautiful gift by dining with him whenever we gather.
Jim Nieman serves as managing editor of Christian Standard.