Sunday, January 11, 2015

Blessed Mountains

The day of New Year’s eve I was in the Cascade Mountains overlooking a beautiful lake at the base of Mt. St. Helens. The trees, roads, and hills all had a fresh dusting of snow; a present left by Christmas past and the mountain stood majestically in the background, plastered white and lumpy. It was the definition of a “bluebird day.” The landscape was pure and undisturbed.

Many see the New Year as a fresh blanket of snow; undisturbed and pure. In my mind’s eye, this blanket of snow is a meadow in the middle of the forest. Flat and pristine, with no footprints made in it yet. But, do we ever view a new beginning as a mountain with fresh snow? A mountain is not an easy thing to climb, but in the world we live in there is inevitably going to be mountains in the new year ahead. Maybe you are still standing on a mountain from this past year.

As I stood on the shores of Coldwater Lake beneath the crater of Mt. St. Helens, I felt really small. The mountain loomed above me and, yet, it was beautiful. The realization of being small in comparison to life around us is humbling. It is healthy.

Looking up at Mt. St. Helens, a mountain, I heard this phrase going around in the back of my head, “He must increase, I must decrease.” I think this comes from a healthy hunger for someone to walk beside us and up these mountains life brings to us. After all, God did not create us to live life in a solitary way. Even the most introverted of us still long to share life’s joys, adventures, and needs with another. To feel a hunger for Someone greater to walk with us is a healthy way to live and look at life’s mountains. Jesus talks about this in his sermon on the mount, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

It is healthy to be hungry. It means our bodies and minds are functioning in a healthy way. But what does it mean to be hungry and thirsty for righteousness? Righteousness is defined by Google as “the quality of being morally right or justifiable.” To be “morally right or justifiable” are pretty rigid words, but here is a way to soften them: God is and Jesus embodies what it means to be righteous or good; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self control. As human beings who strive to be bent on being ‘good’ or moral, how can we not hunger and thirst to live in parallel with the Creator of our universe and our personal Savior? It is healthy to hunger and thirst and even more than our desire to live a good life, God desires to fill us with righteousness! What a guy!

May we seek to enter into this year with hope and a hunger to climb mountains with a heart bent on being filled from head to toe with the love, patience, and goodness of our climbing Guide. For in our hunger and thirst for something more, Someone Greater, we are called “Blessed.”