As today (April 17) marks the celebration for our friends to the north with their Canada/Constitution Act, making it a fully sovereign state, it reminds me of what was part of our routine with the twin diaper dandies during their final feed (before they finally got settled into their crib-quarters, at least). We would turn on YouTube and pull up a list of videos under the channel called, “Scenic Relaxation.” Its description is as follows:

The goal at Scenic Relaxation is to provide relaxing 4K visuals of the world’s most stunning places. From the mountains of the Dolomites, to the green landscapes of the Isle of Skye, Scenic relaxation will put you in a calming mood. Sit back and enjoy the scenery of our beautiful world :)

Yes, part of the reason we turned to this precious speck in the vast YouTube empire was because we were trying to trick the dynamic duo into a slumbering sleep (sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t), but another reason was to get them ingrained into seeing beauty in other parts of the world (not to mention allowing the two parents a chance to take a quick trip, mentally-speaking, of course).

At first, I thought one of its videos “of the world’s most stunning places” was an odd inclusion to the list: Greenland. It is supposedly the world’s largest island (more than three times the size of Texas, in fact), located between Canada and Iceland. Evidently, it’s a dependent territory of Denmark (can’t say I knew that until the dynamic duo came along) with limited self-government, but its own parliament. Now, this isn’t meant to be a social studies lesson, because it’s more so about its overlooked (for me) beauty. Although 80% of the island is glacier ice (which has its own eye-catching quality to it), there is still some soothing greenery with awe-inspiring mountains and other wonderful landscape interspersed throughout.

You can watch the video through the link provided below, if you like (or pick out another place to explore; just know that some of the videos go on for hours upon hours with a fair amount of repeating drone technology photography; that, and the music, can very well put adults and…hopefully, infants, to sleep), but one of the places that won’t show up in the production is the Hvalsey Fjord Church, the stones of which still stand in southern Greenland. It is believed to be one of oldest (somewhat) still-standing Christian churches in North America, because long before the (in)famous Christopher Columbus, the Norwegians showed up to Greenland in the year 982. As construction of churches emerged soon thereafter, Hvalsey did so around 1300.

4 17 2024 2

Although the building has not been used in over 600 years now, and so no interior or roof exists today, the walls remain. And if those walls could talk, they would tell of stories of saints from long ago, saints who may not have been known hardly at all by the rest of the world. Nevertheless, from the VisitGreenland website:

People gathered here from far and wide to attend Christian festivals throughout the year. The ships of the Norse settlers were anchored side by side on the fjord, whilst other people arrived overland on horseback or on foot. Immediately west of the church there are ruins of a large residential complex with stables and a banquet hall for the many visitors.

In watching Scenic Relaxation’s breath-taking recording of Greenland’s geography, I was not only reminded of so much beauty in terms of natural landscape, I remembered God seeing so much beauty in all of us that we often take for granted, or, even worse: absolutely refuse to see in others. And such spiritual grandeur is not reserved for certain church-goers who attend large majestic cathedrals in Paris, France, or Rome, Italy, or Washington, D.C., etc. It’s also not limited to specific congregation members who put in however many hours for weeknight council meetings or so much overall energy in bringing a public ministry to life. No, God set us free to be precious children of the Divine from the beginning, long before we became members of a church, long before we put money into an offering plate, long before any committee service. Evidently, God thought we were already beautiful from the start, and claimed us as children of God, called to be saints for the sake of the world that our Lord still thoroughly cherishes, including the places and the people never thought of by the rest of us. For that incredible Gospel news, we give thanks to God, indeed!

In Christ,
Pastor Brad

Images: from Flickr, WBUR.org
Greenland 4K - Scenic Relaxation Film with Calming Music - YouTube
VisitGreenland.com