It does not surprise me that our ancient kindred perceived mountaintops as the place where God resides. There is something mystical in the jutting face of mountains. There is something that calls to me when I am within sight of snowy peaks.
I often worry that I will drive off the road when in view of the snow-covered mountains of the Cascade Range, especially Oregon’s Mt. Hood. I struggle to keep my eyes on the road and off the divine curves of the rising rock..
Perhaps, the allure is stronger for me because, though I spent some of my childhood under its watchful gaze, most of my growing up years were in the mid-south and mid-west. Those regions of the country have much beauty but snow-capped peaks are not among them.
As I was hiking and climbing the rocks of Horsethief Butte in Washington state this morning, I tweeted that,
I always feel safe hiking and climbing when I know that Mt. Hood is watching over me. When I nearly lost my way, when anxiety began to well up while hiking Mt. Defiance late last summer, my mood changed once I glimpsed Hood. I immediately knew where I was. I was no longer lost; Mt. Hood was with me. This parallels the comfort and relief I feel when I perceive God is with me.
Climbing and hiking this morning, the craggy rocks demanded my attention. The flowers that graced cliff face and meadow alike beckoned me to remember that though my mountain god watches from afar, God is within all of creation. God is in the resurrecting flowers of spring. God is in the buzzing flies and the rattlesnake who calls Horsethief Butte home.
God is in the tiny lavender flowers and the purple mountain. God is within me, within you, and between all that is.
Send your light and truth— those will guide me!
Let them bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling place. Psalm 43:3 CEB
In everything I have shown you that, by working hard, we must help the weak. In this way we remember the Lord Jesus’ words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 CEB
Being human is to be full of contradictions. Not any one of us is fully consistent in our habits or beliefs and actions. Sometimes, that is a good thing. Contradiction and hypocrisy can be the moral thing.
It is no secret that the last four or five years have been tight financially for my family. In this way we are not unlike many Americans. Twenty-eleven was a particular challenge as I was finishing up seminary and my wife was cobbling together work to support us. We are still cleaning up the mess called 2011 and will be for quite some time.
A few months ago, my wife was having a particular struggle with our financial situation. In other words, she was freaking out about money. As she left for work, her stress level was high.
But here’s the remarkable hypocrisy: she didn’t hesitate to share what we had with someone in need. In her role as hospital chaplain, my wife is responsible for administering a system of disbursing small amounts of money to help those down on their luck. When the bureaucracy did not meet the needs of a particular man, she dug into our personal funds.
I don’t think she even realized as she told me about the debit on our account, that she had contradicted herself within the span of eight hours. The divine love flowing through her overshadowed her feelings of freaking out about money. She chose to be part of the unfolding realm of God, characterized by extravagant love.
God of Abundance: May we be filled with personal generosity for your sake. May we give generously assured that you have created enough for all of us. Amen.