Tuesday, July 30, 2013

mountaintop experiences

If you think back on your life,  you may recall an experience that can't be explained or a moment when you felt the special presence of God. We sometimes call theses times "mountaintop experiences". But to experience an actual mountaintop experience on a literal mountaintop is something very special.

The Celts called such locations ”thin places” - described as places where the veil between this world and the other world meet. There is a Celtic saying that “heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in the thin places that distance is even smaller.”

In Exodus, after leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, Moses felt called by God to climb Sinai, a mountain associated with God’s presence, a “thin place”. The glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and it was there that Moses received the Ten Commandments from God for the people of Israel. When Moses came down from the mountain, his face was shining like the sun from being in the presence of God. Moses was changed. It was a turning point in his life and in the lives of many.

In Luke, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a mountain (probably Mt. Hermon) where he is ‘transfigured’ before them. That time on the mountain was a special event for them that changed their perspective on Jesus and who he was to them.

On Mt. Calvary, Jesus died on the cross for the sins of all the world. On the Mt. of Olives, He ascended into heaven and now rules and reigns over the whole creation. When He comes again, we will live with Him forever on Mt. Zion in the heavenly Jerusalem. Talk about a mountaintop experience!

This past week at the Peak Challenge in Colorado, we had a mountaintop experience without the mountain top. Our scheduled hike up to the top of Mt. Elbert, the tallest mountain in Colorado, had to be cancelled due to rain all day Sunday. In spite of the weather and our dampened spirits, we were still able to have a mountaintop experience due to the inspiring worship, fellowship, scripture, teaching, and singing that took place with 200+  Lutheran guys at our camp.

"I lift mine eyes to the hills, where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth."
 - Psalm 121

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