Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Virtual Gathering Place at the Foot of the Mountains in Idaho

Why this virtual gathering place?  I live in a beautiful mountainous region near Boise, Idaho.  I seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ every day, and the mountains remind me of the Psalmist's words:
Psalm 121 (King James Version)

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.   The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

So, I would like to have you join me as I sit at the foot of the mountains, listen to God's voice and share what I am learning with you. 

 “I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip--
He who watches over you will not slumber…”
Psalm 121:1-3

Mountains give us perspective, before we begin a journey, because they show how hard it will be to go up. 

For a moment, think of the ocean:  you look out onto the horizon, and you have no idea what lies between you and that far away line…the surface is deceptively smooth as you look ahead, and you have no idea of the depth, the size of the waves that are miles away, and just how many miles you must travel. 

Mountains, on the other hand, cause us to lift up our heads and see the path that will take us to the top.  The way up is jagged, deep, certainly not smooth or even in any way.  After scanning the arduous way up, our hunger for the summit is even greater:  we know it will not be easy to reach it, which makes the summit all the more desirable.

The summit will be above the crevices and stones and copses of trees, and we will be able to look out and over the mountain.  Think of how sweet the summit will be!  The challenging and daunting path up will then disappear under the spectacular vista that is before us.

Mountains call us up upwards and that is why mountains are where momentous occasions in the life of God and His people take place.

Abraham journeys up a mountain with his son, and even though a sacrifice is demanded of him, he tells his servant waiting below that “we will return”--he has faith in God’s provision.  You can’t climb a mountain looking straight ahead of you; you must look up, and as Abraham made his way, his perspective was continuously lifted towards heaven, where his Maker dwelled, and Who would deliver him and his son.

Moses must go up to meet God.  He hears His voice and receives the Law on the top of a mountain.  Moses’ viewpoint, that God is above him and will rule over His chosen, cannot be forgotten as he trudges up the mountain’s side.  Mountains don’t let us forget their steepness, and Moses could not forget that the path to his God is a challenging obedience to His calling.  And yet, upon reaching the place where God converses with Moses, how amazing, how sweet it is to on top of the world, to be closer to heaven and to Him.

Jesus takes His closest disciples and walks up a mountain.  The disciples, upon reaching the summit, take in deep breaths, and then, their breaths are taken away!  The very Man that they are following upon the dusty roads of Israel, transfigures into the very One of the Universe, Who had taken the dust of the cosmos, and had swept the heavens and earth into being.  Their new vista is as they walk the dusty roads of Israel with this Son of God, they never will forget that He is also the King of the Universe. The Rabbi from Nazareth is the Ancient One Who made the heavens and earth. 

The mountain where Jesus is crucified demands that they disciples look up, and the agony they witness shatters them.  Mountains are unforgiving places with rocks that slip from beneath your feet, and the thinner air strains the heart and the spirit.  But Jesus’ cross is emptied of its terror by death itself being conquered as the stone rolled away from His grave in a flash of light, two mornings later.  This mountain, with the empty cross silhouetted upon it, again demands we look up.   It provides a new vista:  forgiveness, healing and a path up the mountain that every one of us must climb, but we will never climb it alone.

Prayer:  Lord, I know the way is steep.  I know there will be detours, crevices, jagged rocks and sometimes, no obvious path to continue upon.  But help me to look up.  Help me to look to the summit, keep my eyes on the heights, and allow my will to be strengthened by Your guiding hand.  The summit will be sweeter because You and I will celebrate it together.  But let the journey, difficult as it is, be sweet as well:  because You and I will walk together.  I will never be alone.  In Jesus’ precious Name, amen.

1 comment:

  1. This is "A Simple Song" from Bernstein's Mass. In the middle, you'll find that psalm quoted.


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