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God in Grand Junction

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GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO--If you go by the number of churches and Christian radio stations here, you come to Grand Junction knowing that Jesus Christ is this town's Lord and Savior--end of story. Even so the Ramada Inn on Horizon Drive took me surprise. On the bed table, there was a message from "Management and Staff," in toto, that went like this:

To Our Guests

In ancient times there was a prayer for
"The Stranger within our gates."

Because this hotel is a human institution to
serve people, we hope that God will grant you
peace and rest while you are under our roof.

May this room and hotel be your 'second'
home. May those that you love be near you in
thoughts and dreams. Even though we may not
get to know you, we hope that you will be
comfortable and happy as if you were in your
own house.

May the business that brought you our way
prosper. May every call you make and ever
message you receive add to your joy. When you
leave, may your journey be safe.

We are all travelers. From "birth till death"
we travel between the eternities. May these
days be pleasant for you, profitable for society,
helpful for those you meet, and a joy to those
who know and love you best.

Now I've done enough gotcha journalism in my day to know that I had "Management and Staff" cold. Who were they to make the assumption that God and I were on the same page? This bedside note was an obvious intrusion and I knew exactly how to turn it into a nice little blog: by calling Ramada corporate, getting a flack to decry and deny the practice, and then go along on my jolly elitist way--after pointing the finger at the loonies in Boonetown.

I knew right away that would not be right. I knew it because someone--maybe more than one person--had given this some real thought to this and had managed to bring the management of an airport hotel into alignment with not one but two eternities on a single page.

I also appreciated the repetitive "May those that you love... May the business that brought you our way... May your journey be safe." There was something soothing and prayerful about that, maybe because the writer, like "The Stranger," was writing a prayer for modern times. And I could not help but notice the seamless weaving of God with faith in business.

Was this a whisper of Joel Osteen? Permission to prosper, O Lord? Now that's my kind of God.

I stopped at the Denny's on Horizon for an early Grand Slam before heading home after dropping off the wife at the airport in the wee hours. The two Debbies were on the overlapping portion of their shift and the one told me that she was "on the grave." She came around from behind the counter and sat with a regular who knew how to nip at her heels just for fun. The Grand Slam was so big that neither Debbie could find a takeout box big enough to hold the wheat pancakes dripping with butter, a big ole pat.

In the car I turned on "Compassion Radio" and heard a learned discussion of freedom of religion in Argentina as a basic human right--followed by the inevitable pitch for money--and then a preacher who came on and made a very convincing case for these being the "last days" based on the great disparity of wealth predicted by the Holy Bible.

No, I would not be making fun of the God-fearing religious people of Grand Junction, Colorado, by turning their faith into target practice. In my way, I would be making a little plug for the Ramada Inn with the bedside God so close at hand, where they even take dogs for $10 a day. How much closer to God can you get?