In 2020, I spent a little time riding motorcycles in California. While there, one of my pitstops was at the Desert Christ Park. Admittedly, it wasn’t a place on my radar before I left home. But, standing in a gas station looking at the Roadside America app on my phone, I discovered that it was just a hop, skip and a jump away over a dusty hill so I decided to take a look.
While I do not subscribe to any organized religion, there are facets of Christianity that filter through my thoughts simply from exposure growing up. Messages of peace, being of service to others, and loving your fellow man hit the mark for me. But then there are many, many other things do not. So, I pick and choose and follow my own path… STRAIGHT TO HELLLLLLL!!!!
“Slap me low… too slow!” Dammit – He gets me every time!
The park is mainly clusters of stark white statues dotting a desert hillside. You follow a dusty path that winds through the scrub and Joshua trees, taking in the sights under the baking sun.
For me, the highlight of the park was this lovely building: The Stone Chapel designed by Frank Garske.
Unfortunately while I was there, it was locked due to prior issues of disrespect, so I did not get to go inside. But, even just seeing its curious facade was a treat. It looked fragile, sharp, and dangerous simultaneously. And also like it might be made of nougat.
The first time I was in Milan in 2000, I viewed Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie. Along a corridor I saw photographs of the former convent that houses the fresco after being bombed during World War II. Amongst piles of rubble the wall and the work persisted.
Could its survival be attributed to the toil of man and engineering, luck, or divine intervention? Who can say with any certainty. All I know is that those images have stayed with me for the last 20+ years. They meant something to me. They symbolized… something.
The Last Supper at Desert Christ Park? Ehhhh… while a good effort and one surely done with a pure heart, it didn’t quite have the same thoughtful, lasting effect.
What is Peter looking at through the drapes? Is he creeping on the neighbors again? “Jeeeesus, would you look at Ezekiel’s lawn? The place is a shambles!” And Thomas looks like he’s asking the guest of honor if he wants a knuckle sandwich for dinner.
::shrug:: I dunno. Family gatherings can be tough.
We often find messages and meaning differently within the same boundaries. Even if you aren’t religious, you may find that taking in Christ Desert Park is still worthwhile.
Christ Desert Park
56200 Sunnyslope Dr
Yucca Valley, CA 92284