Pastoral Ponderings—Mountain Top
Back in the day, I remember hearing a lot in church youth group and other church settings about spiritual “mountain top” experiences, though I’ve not heard much of that language recently. I don’t usually think in terms of my Army training as a “mountain top” experience. But the term fits this time as we did a training experience to a mountain top this time, to Mt. Ranier. Being the sr. guy on the team, it was easy for me to approve such a training plan!
As great at any mountain top experience is, it’s usually not an easy thing to get there. That was certainly the case this time, and we’re not even back to Ft. Lewis yet at this writing, but I’m already feeling it! We didn’t actually make it to the top of Mt. Ranier, but to Dege Peak, at about 7,000’, right at the top of the tree line, on one of the shoulders of Mt. Ranier. The perpetually snow-covered peak of Ranier looked like it was easily in reach, but rises another 7000 or so feet. To scale that peak though, is a much more daunting task, but what a mountain top it would be!
I love the song by a guy named Eli that I’ve mentioned before, about the guy who dreamed about dying and going to Heaven, and meeting St. Peter at the gate. As the song goes, St. Peter takes him to his mansion in the sky, but he notices all the mansions keep getting smaller, ‘til St. Pete points to a one room shack and says “Here you go.” He asks how it is that he just gets a one room shack, and Pete says “That’s all the lumber you sent”—as if to say that while salvation is a gift of grace, there are SO many more blessings that we might find if only we share those blessings with others.
Back to my mountain top hike—it’s a great experience getting there—but it’s not an easy hike. It’s a hike with hazards and dangers all along the way, but hardly any danger when you follow the signs and stay on the path! The path to our spiritual mountain tops also has its hazards. But God gives us guidance and “signs” to show us where the safe path is so we can avoid the hazards. It can still be a rough climb—but what an experience!
Pastor Jim on the mountain top!