We had a plan for a couple of weeks to take a road trip. Corinne moved here from Oregon. She had mentioned she liked hiking, mountains, waterfalls and Oregon rain. She’s lived here in Iowa little over a year. She is my youth worship coordinator. I really love the way she thinks. She has this gentle way about her, along with a punch of get it done. We thought we’d make the trek to see Iowa waterfalls. But the time that it would take to do that was too much for this day. So instead, we went to Bellevue, Iowa. Well, we sort of went to Bellevue. We went galavanting around the countryside. Something I really love about road trips and people who don’t mind adventures is you never know what you’re going to find along the way.
We decided to drive Highway 151 up past Anamosa, Monticello, and Cascade. And we turned off on a road called Bernard. There really wasn’t much in Bernard except this cute signage on a barber shop.
As we continued on our journey we came around a bend and down a hill and Corinne yells out, “ROCKS!” She said it with so much joy. It’s the closest thing that could look like mountains in flat/rolling hill Iowa.
We saw many houses and many churches. The countryside was just beautiful. It was so peaceful. Gallivanting is one of my favorite past times. I love to travel along in a haphazard way seeing what there is to see.
But one place stood out among to rest.
We came to a T intersection on our way to Bellevue. We had seen on google maps that there was a big church to the left. So, we detoured to go see it. (pictured top right) but it was the church across the valley that caught our eye, so much so, that we drove right past the one we had intended to see.
It wasn’t as ornate, it didn’t have two spires like the one across the valley but the feeling and sense of awe, the wonder kept building from the moment we drove on to the property. Something was drawing us.
Now as beautiful as the church was, that wasn’t the thing that was drawing us to this place. As we walked around the property like little kids on a hunt, we found a pathway past the cemetery. It was wide and led up to a gate.
We came to the gate it had a bungee chain keeping in held tight. We thought that was weird since it also has a latch. There was also a sign that said WAY OF THE CROSS.
We look up ahead on the trail we could see little houses. When we got to them they had photographs of the walk Jesus took on the way to laying down His life in the crucifixion. We couldn’t help but think of the verse that says:
Matthew 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
If we didn’t walk up along the cemetery we would not have seen the gate. Curiosity pulled us up the way. We found the gate and entered in.
The walk was steep and bumpy. All the way up the trailway it became more and more narrow. But not just that, the trail was littered with poop pellets. It was like landmines everywhere. All the way up we were thinking, “Man, the deer must be in herds up here.” Yet, we didn’t see any deer. We had to watch our feet carefully with every step we took. The further up the trail, the more poop was on the trail as it narrowed. It is hard to describe the weight of the journey we took today as we pondered the walk Christ took. My mind mused on how the sinless son of God walked in this sinful world and here I am walking up this trail with landmines everywhere. It was very strange and coincidental. We got to the top and we found a little sanctuary surrounded by a fence.
There was something really amazing about this place. It evoked so many thoughts and emotions. Outside the fence (in the world) we walked through a dirty, stinky mess. Inside the fence (in Christ) it was so clean. Corinne remarked that she appreciated the Catholics for creating spaces like this for people to refocus on Jesus and what He did for us.
But then the best part was found as we were walking back down. As we were pondering about how you make the journey up through all the poop to the sanctuary. Then we enter in, receive cleansing and then walk down back through the poop with a new perspective. Now we knew better where to step and thought about how with Christ within we can point the way of the cross.
So majestic and metaphorical.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
All the poop was from sheep. We were walking in their padture. It was just the most intentional, biblically thought provoking, make-you-ponder and be in awe of what Christ has done path I have ever been on. Definitely, one to visit!
We had a great time going from the big church at the bottom the little sanctuary at the top. By the time it was over we knew what that latch and strange gate closer were for.
I hope we venture again!
Until Next Time!
Thanks for Listening,