Deuteronomy, Chapter 1, Verse 19
Then we set out from Horeb and journeyed through that whole vast and fearful wilderness that you have seen, in the direction of the hill country of the Amorites, as the LORD, our God, had commanded; and we came to Kadesh-barnea.
Kadesh-barnea means “The holy place of the desert of wandering” Sometimes the Lord asks us to go out into the desert for it is in the desert that we can; like Abraham and Moses, have an encounter with the living God. Deserts are fearful places and are full of rocks, pointy things, snakes, spiders and the indescribable beauty of God’s creation. By encountering God in the desert we learn that the very same stones that somehow get in our shoes and make progress impossible are the very same stones that lay foundations, bridges and roads.
In the desert we can search for God; avoid of our distractions and find Him. In the desert we can write out our sins and confess them to God. In the desert we can shed our old lives like the snake sheds its skin and find a new perspective for life. It is during this time alone with; He that IS; we make a spiritual change of clothes. In the desert we can make an all-night vigil and with the coming of the new day we can proclaim as in the Negro spiritual: When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, O Lord, have mercy on me. For it is in the desert that we can quit deluding ourselves and be doers of the word and not hearers only. For it is in the desert with can find the strength to keep ourselves unstained by the world and find that pure and undefiled religion is to care for others in their afflictions.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
The chapel was inspired and commissioned by local rancher and sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude, who had been inspired in 1932 by the newly constructed Empire State Building to build such a church. After an attempt to do so in Budapest, Hungary (with the help of Lloyd Wright, son of noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright) was aborted due to the outbreak of World War II, she decided to build the church in her native region. The chapel is built on Coconino National Forest land; the late Senator Barry Goldwater assisted Staude in obtaining a special-use permit. The construction supervisor was Fred Courkos, who built the chapel in 18 months at a cost of US$300,000. The chapel was completed in 1956. The American Institute of Architects gave the Chapel its Award of Honor in 1957. In the sculptor's words, “Though Catholic in faith, as a work of art the Chapel has a universal appeal. Its doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed, that God may come to life in the souls of all men (and women) and be a living reality.” In 2007, Arizonans voted the Chapel to be one of the Seven Man-Made Wonders of Arizona, and it is also the site of one of the so-called Sedona vortices (New Age Pagan stuff).