Mountaintop

Jordan Davis 05-05-2014
phildaint/Shutterstock.com

Mountaintop experiences are some of the easiest ways to feel God's presence. phildaint/Shutterstock.com

Reading the Bible from the comfort of my couch, I find myself pointing fingers at individuals like Elijah. I can throw them under the bus for missing the point. It's easy for me to see how they got it all wrong. I'm amazed how apparent the presence of God can be one minute and the very next minute they sink deep into despair with this "woe is me" attitude — all the while thinking God has abandoned them.

But, as an onlooker, I have the privilege of seeing the whole story. I'm not living in the moment waiting for things to unfold. The Bible has extended to me the privilege of seeing the big picture, which makes it easy to see that while God is sometimes found on the mountain, or in those big cinematic experiences — conquering prophets, healing the sick, reviving the dead, conquering death — other times he is found in the valley, or in that still, small voice.

But then again, I have to wonder if I'm really any different? Don't I have the same struggles today? How often do I get caught up in the circumstances and lose sight of the big picture? I have some big mountain top experience — the money comes through, the deal works out, I got the job, my fear and anxiety dissipate, the mission trip is life changing, the sermon was exactly what I needed to hear — and, it never fails, the next minute I feel as though God has abandoned me. Doubts surface about whether or not God really has my best interest at heart. I wonder if he can even use someone as broken as me.

What causes such a drastic change?

After wrestling with this a little more, I came to a disheartening conclusion — I have a tendency to seek an experience instead of God. 

Lisa Sharon Harper 06-29-2012
Photo by Cathleen Falsani/Sojourners.

Lisa Sharon Harper leads the closing liturgy at the Wild Goose Festival. Photo by Cathleen Falsani/Sojourners.

We have listened to many of the modern-day prophets of our times. They have pointed the way toward justice and restoration. We have prayed together and moved our bodies together and exercised the discipline of silence together in order to get a glimpse at God’s kind of justice. In more ways than one, we have had a mountaintop experience, but most of us don’t live on mountaintops. We live back down in the valleys, in cities and town, in the commotion of life and work and love.

And so, it is necessary that we take time while on the mountaintop to reflect on all that God has given us in this special place. To imagine the implications of these truths, these questions, these stories on how we will live our lives.

Debra Dean Murphy 08-29-2011

When our ideas about nature come primarily from Sierra Club calendars or selected snippets from Thoreau, an east coast earthquake and monster hurricane (in the same week) are powerful wake-up calls.

We modern urban dwellers and suburbanites like our nature contained and manageable: a nice hike in the woods; a pretty sunset on the drive home; a lush, green lawn (chemically-induced, alas)

Sometimes we like nature so much we decide to worship it -- or to make it the medium for our worship of God or the "higher power" we think might be up there, out there, presiding over it all. We've been wounded by organized religion, perhaps, disgusted by its hierarchies and hypocrisies. "I can worship God on a mountaintop," we decide. (Or -- conveniently, happily -- on the golf course).

Jason Howard 06-21-2011
It's noon on the West Coast, and Ashley Judd is scurrying to make a live on-air interview with a National Public Radio local affiliate in Berkeley.
Bryan Farrell 06-14-2011

Hundreds of miners, activists, students, academics, environmentalists, and other citizens are marching to West Virginia's historic Blair Mountain in an effort to save it from mountaintop removal.

Jeffrey Wilson 04-21-2011
Last year, I was deeply troubled by the Gulf Oil Spill, having been born and raised on the Florida Gulf Coast.
Anjali Cadambi 04-11-2011

Reverend Billy and the Church of Earthalujah! has pulled it off again, this time in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

Rose Marie Berger 02-14-2011

Fourteen mountain-top removal protesters -- including author Wendell Berry -- are in their third day of a sit-in/sleep-in at the Kentucky Governor's Office in Frankfort.

Allen Johnson 02-14-2011

In the old days, in the coal towns of West Virginia, winter was a time when folks hunkered around the pot-bellied stove and whiled away time spinning stories. At times, someone would fiddle with the draft, poke the coal embers, and release an extra dollop of acrid coal smell. Houses were drafty. Your front side facing the stove could be burning up, your backside shivering cold.

Allen Johnson 01-05-2011

This past Monday, January 3, anti-mountaintop removal activist Judy Bonds exhaled her last breath from the homeland she loved.

Allen Johnson 10-19-2010

More than 2,000 activists gathered at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C.

Betsy Shirley 09-27-2010
[Editor's Note: On 10.10.10, 350.org is coordinating 2700 events in 150 countries to address climate change
Duane Shank 08-06-2010
August 6, 1945. It was a sunny morning in the city of more than 300,000 people. Some were on their way to work, children were playing in the streets.
Jake Olzen 06-16-2010
For nearly two months oil has gushed into the Gulf because of BP's government-endorsed "error." The environmental destruction has reached epic prop
Allen Johnson 04-15-2010
The heart-chilling news flashed through West Virginia's Coal River valley, a darkening pall on the blue sky afternoon of April 5, 2010, one day after Easter's hope-filled celebration of resurrectio
I was saddened by our president's acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize. He missed a chance to witness to courage and leadership. True, Mr.
Joseph Lowery 01-22-2009

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.

Lisa Sharon Harper 01-21-2009

We waited for 30 minutes. Standing, awkward, we looked up at the board. When I arrived at Penn Station the board said train #167, enroute to Washington D.C., "25 mins late"... Five minutes later, "30 mins late." The terminal filled up, more people standing -- waiting ... and wondering if the others hovering with backpacks and napsacks and yoga mats were all waiting for the same thing.

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