The best sermon ever preached didn’t happen in a sanctuary …it happened on a mountainside (Matthew 5:1). Jesus loved being on mountains (Matthew 14:23; 15:29: 17:1; 28:16). Mountains are metaphors for the most edifying experiences of life. The rigors of acclimatizing to altitude, the perseverance required to hike, the problem solving required to climb, the communal encounters with other people on the trail, the risks, the adventure, the rocks, the rivers, the wildlife, the snow, the rain, the fog, the hail, the wind, the vistas, and the bivouacs! It’s so good for us, and I have a hunch that’s why Jesus was always taking His disciples to mountains. Mountains offer us tangible experiences of grandeur, endurance, and gumption (i.e. the stuff of discipleship).
“Some things are too great to come at directly. Just as we may weave back and forth as we climb a hill, and appear to be going round in circles, yet all the while we are coming closer to the summit, so in our religious and spiritual life things may seem circuitous; we may think we have come back to the same spot, but always, if we press on, it is a little higher, a little closer to the truth.”Malcolm Guite
And, as an added bonus… mountains mercifully purloin our cell phone service!
“In a world of incessant distraction, the way out might look like learning how to be bored. A little ennui could go a long way. We need to learn how to be bored in order to wean ourselves off distraction and open ourselves to others and the Other – to make ourselves available for irruptions of grace.”James K.A. Smith