On the island of Hawaii, you can hike across an active volcano. It doesn’t look a bit like the models I made in grade school, where a triangular papier-mâché mountain spouted dry ice smoke and red yarn lava from a small hole at the top. No, this volcano is an enormous crater whose hot lava spills underground and pours into the sea. The surface of the crater is hardened lava rock. That’s why you can walk across an active volcano. Very carefully.
“I feel like I’m walking on the moon.” My family and I heard people say this over and over again when we were on the volcano, and we all agreed. It’s not as if any of us have actually been to the moon, but the steaming sharp black lava rock was so foreign that it seemed logical that it had to be from another planet. But here it was on our planet.
Lillian Daniel is senior pastor at First Congregational Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a board member for Interfaith Worker Justice, and author of When “Spiritual But Not Religious” Is Not Enough (Jericho Books).