Once we crossed the wide MIssouri River, the landscape began to change drastically. The flat farmland was replaced by rolling hills and jutting rock formations. We enjoyed lunch in the Wall Drug neighborhood and took lots of selfies with Jackalopes before continuing on to the famous faces of Mount Rushmore. There, under their stony, distant gazes, the choir spontaneously burst forth into song, much to the delight of numerous tourists who hastened to record it all on their cell phones.
We acknowledged Good Friday with a bus-wide Bible reading in Luke that took us through the crucifixion. We also attended a Tenebrae service at Calvary Lutheran Church in Rapid City before fueling up for the all-night leg of our journey.
I wish I could post for you a photo collage of the various sleeping positions that were employed over the next 12 hours on the bus. Every square inch of the floor and aisle were covered with prone bodies. Slumberers slouched against the windows, the arm rests, one another. Stockinged feet laced across the seats and above those sleeping on the floor forming an almost impenetrable web of gangly limbs. How do I know this you ask? Blame a 3 AM stop wherein I consumed a 20 ounce cup of coffee and felt the impending results long before any promise of a relief stop.
In the dark, in true ninja fashion, this middle-aged gal rose to the challenge. Literally. I stood up on the corner of my seat and went from the front of the bus to the back by feel alone. I tested each step with the toe of my sock to see whether I encountered a head of hair, an arm or leg, or just a pillow. Carefully measuring each move, I arrived and the bathroom cubicle and slid inside, pushing the curly hair of a teenage boy and his pillow off the threshold of the bathroom before sliding the door shut again. He never stirred.
Throughout the night our fearless drivers battled fog, snow, and ice as they drove us through the mountains of western Montana. Several accidents were spied, including a pickup balanced on a guard rail. God protected us and we woke to the sparkly ice-covered city of Butte.
For devotions this morning, one student stood at the front of the bus and read Psalm 19. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. “ Outside the bus windows we gazed out at lush, evergreen covered foothills carved with deep valleys and dotted with cattle and sheep. Beyond that, snow capped mountains rose straight up into clouds the size of small continents. “Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” Pockets of low--lying clouds dance with the sun and highlight patterns on the jagged surface of the earth. How great is our God who can speak without words--who allows his work to speak for him. And so we shall spend the rest of this day, drinking in the glory of God’s handiwork until we arrive in Seattle last this afternoon. On this holy day of waiting in Shadows for the revealed Son of God, we pause in sure and certain hope of our own promised resurrection.
Death could not hold him--Sunday’s coming!