The Quixotic Pastor

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Longing For The Holy Mountain

Today, I have begun my worship preparations for this Sunday. In the Season of Creation, the 4th Sunday is "Mountain Sunday". So I begin by exploring Scriptural mountains ... and I am particularly intrigued by the concept in the prophet Isaiah's writing re: the "har q'dosh", God's Holy Mountain, especially in chapter 65 verses 17-25. Of course, there's also the Mount of Transfiguration in the Gospels ... and the Mount of Olives, where Jesus customarily retreated to pray during his Jerusalem ministry, and from where [I think] Jesus ascended after his resurrection, so the Mt. of Olives is also Ascension Mount. And there's Mount Ararat, upon which Noah's Ark came to rest, and Mt. Horeb and Mount Sinai ... and so on and so on and so on. Lots of material to choose from!

I have lived in flatlands most of my life --Michigan's Saginaw Valley may be the flattest of all, although most of Dallas comes pretty close-- but I love the mountains and have experienced many a vacation in the Rockies and even one time in the Alps. [In fact, I think I'll get DH to sort through some of our mountain shots from Glacier National Park for the bulletin cover.] My favorite part of the Tour de France is the mountain portion, because I am flabbergasted that anyone could climb those steep grades on a bike.

Why do mountains lend themselves so readily to the Divine, to the sacred? I suspect first that it is because they are literally "higher ground", closer to the heavens which in pre-scientific cosmologies were the abode of God ... second because they represent clear vision, unimpeded by obstacles ... third because, even today, at least above the treeline, they are generally places of solitude ... fourth, because they are places of awesome, awe-full beauty.

But what is best to me about Isaiah's concept of the holy mountain is not that it is a mountain, but rather that it is a place of shalom! a place where we will neither harm nor destroy, a place where a new heaven and a new earth meld into a single blessed reality. O how I long for a different kind of world from the one in which I live, where violence and hatred and indifference and all kinds of sins abound. Ever so often I find it --or rather, it finds me.

There's a song that I haven't heard in awhile, and I do not know who performs it, but the refrain is "Why, O why, why would I ever want to leave, leave the peaceable Kingdom." We trade the peaceable kingdom for a false sense of security and trade love of neighbor for greed for things which ultimately do not satisfy ... we leave the peaceable kin-dom every day, because we're afraid of so many things, because we feel "nekkid" and vulnerable and powerless and in human arrogance and pride we actually believe we can do something about that on our own --do unto others before they do unto you, the rule of the pre-emptive strike instead of the golden rule ...

More later.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home