God’s Holy Mountain
I’m a Missouri boy. I have lived forty-five of my fifty years in Missouri. The five years I was not living in Missouri, I was living in west-central Illinois. When we moved, one of the questions that I wrestled with in the transition was …
“Where are all the hills?”
I realize of course it could have been worse. We could have moved to Kansas, which has been scientifically proven to be flatter than a pancake (and that is true – you can google it.) Nevertheless, the farmland we moved to was notably … flat. Especially compared to the rolling hills of Missouri that I was used to.
There’s something magical about a mountain. There’s something about a hilly landscape that pulls me in, inviting me to come and explore. In that age-old vacation question, “Beach or mountains?” … I would choose mountains every single time!
In the Bible, the mountains have a voice in praising God.
The prophet Isaiah says that the mountains and the hills will sing in joy! (Isaiah 55:12) And if you’ve been to the mountains, you have no doubt heard it. The wind in the pines, the streams tumbling over rocks, the cry of a hawk circling above. Just the sheer presence of a mountain range seems to resonate with praise.
Maybe that’s why the Bible chooses a mountain as the dwelling place of God, the location of the completion of God’s reign on earth. God’s “holy mountain” is a theological location more than a physical space, and throughout the scriptures it is the metaphor for life in the world as God intends it.
And so, as we close out our “Season of Creation” worship series this Sunday, we do so with a trip to the mountains. As the prophet Micah invites us,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”