Thursday, February 07, 2008
Journey up the mountain....
Sunday a.m. we attended Church of the Holy Innocents in Maui, HI. We have visited this little open-air building many times over our years of coming to Maui. The priest-in-charge has been there now for three years.
Two of Sunday's readings were Exodus 24:12-18 and Matthew 17:1-9.
Father Bill yoked the lessons of Moses and Jesus' journeys "to the mountain top" to a personal mountain top journey that occurred while he was traveling during his seminary years. He had taken a special trip to Korea to visit churches, attend lectures, etc. On an afternoon lecture recess, the seminarians were given time to seek their own refreshment/reflection/activity. Prayer in a nearby church might have worked, although he quickly reflected that he'd been doing nothing but hanging around in churches; perhaps he should study and write a paper, but again, as a seminarian he had been doing nothing but that all year. A journey up a nearby mountain on a well-traveled footpath seemed inviting to all his senses.
Aware of a time limitation, knowing he could turn back when it seemed appropriate, off he went. Ascending he was alone, meeting a few walkers, nodding in comfort realizing they were sort of on the journey "together," with each climbing at their own pace or ability. He climbed higher, encountering hikers turning back as the journey was becoming increasingly difficult, tiresome; still, he felt the friendly camaraderie of strangers who engaged in the same quest. Smiles, nods, encouragement.
Determined to continue, he climbed breathlessly to his planned destination. He was winded, but filled with thankfulness for being able to walk the path. As he sat in the stillness, feeling exhilarated at the unexpected silence and majesty of the place he had reached, he glanced ahead and realized there was a "higher" boulder to be climbed. Exhilaration fleeting for the moment, determination took him higher, once more to a feeling of satisfaction; that moment also fleeing as he recognized there was more mountain to be climbed.
I personally related to Bill's words, to the Bible readings, in relation to my own continuing journey to live the life that God would have me live. To explore the paths to which I am being called every day. The path is open, the path is ready.
I pray during this season of Lent that I would train my senses to be open to all of the work that God has given me to do; training for that work including appropriate nurture of body, mind, and spirit. Openness to the path that God has prepared for me. Openness to my fellow walkers - so many who inspire me though their creative work, through their inspirational life stories, through their come backs from almost daily defeat.
I can only climb to certain heights on some days and higher on others. I thank all of you who encourage me and others, through your daily testimony of reaching for your own personal heights. I am delighted to be on the path with you!