My favorite kinds of church services are ones that happen outdoors. There’s just something about a group of people singing hymns outside under a blue sky early on Sunday morning that touches me. It seems to be more of a direct spiritual connection when the sound echoes directly up to the sky without a roof in the way.
Chasing down an overheard reference in an Old Colorado Springs coffee shop, I stumbled on another of Colorado’s unexpected treats. Driving through most small towns, you wonder where the end of town is. In Penrose, 35 miles south on 115, you won’t have that problem. The town ends after a few blocks when the paved road abruptly does.The town has no stop lights, a volunteer fire department, and almost no problems except for what seems to be a group of entitled clowns.
The Sunday I stopped by the Cowboy Church, there were more horses than cars. The steam rising in the cold air from riders and the huffing of the horses was a scene out of a cowgirl’s dream. When they read the Rodeo Cowboy’s prayer at the end of the service in memory of long lost friends, I wasn’t the only one in tears.
Rodeo Cowboy’s Prayer
Our gracious and heavenly Father, we pause in the midst of this festive
occasion, mindful and thoughtful of the guidance that you have given us.
As cowboys, Lord, we don’t ask for any special favors.
We ask only that you let us compete in this arena.
We don’t ask to never break a barrier,
or to draw a round of steer that’s hard to throw,
or a chute fighting horse, or a bull that is impossible to ride.
We only ask that you help us to compete as honest as the horses we ride
and in a manner as clean and pure as the wind
that blows across this great land of ours.
So when we do make that last ride
that is inevitable for us all to make, to that place up there,
where the grass is green and lush and stirrup high,
that you’ll tell us as we ride in that our entry fees have been paid.
These things we ask.
© Clem McSpadden. In memory of Howard Manuel, Jim Moore and Zachary Vanwhy.