Wednesday Word 11.30.2016

Psalm 122:1-3

1 I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” 2 Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem. 3 Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together. 4 That is where the tribes go up – the tribes of the Lord – to praise the name of the Lord according to the statute given to Israel.

Isaiah 5: 1, 3

1 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: 3 Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

I was introduced to the idea of God as being on the mountaintop when I heard the story of Moses.  First in Exodus 3:1-2, “3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.” Later, during the Flight from Egypt, we learn in Exodus 24:12, “The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.”  I guess I never thought of God as residing there, but rather that a mountaintop was a convenient location from which to interact with men.  Sort of like meeting in the middle!

Even in the time of David and Solomon, his son, people were still going to “the high places” to pay homage to God. 1 Kings 3:1-3 tells us, “Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh King of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2 The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the Lord. 3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.”

Even Jesus went to the mountaintop for the significant event in Matthew 17:1-2, “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” The Garden of Gethsemane is thought to be on the lower slope of the Mount of Olives, where Jesus went for his last time apart with The Father.  Mountains always made men feel closer to God.

For me, the moment when Jesus died and the curtain separating men from the Holy of Holies in the Temple was torn (Matthew 27:51), the concept that God lived in a certain place went out the window.  Jesus made it possible for you and me to be in relationship with Almighty God wherever we were, regardless of who we are. Jesus said he would be with us always.  I feel the presence of The Holy Spirit in my life when I least expect it:  strong, insistent, chastising, comforting.  We have the capacity, thanks to Christ, to carry the love of God within us and to let it work through us in order to be shared with others.  Will you carry God to someone who needs to know him?…something to pray about.

Your sister in Christ,