So, these are part of what my kids call “The Jedi Steps.” (so named because they remind the kids of the stairs that Rey has to ascend at the end of The Force Awakens).
They are a beautiful series of stone steps at a local nature center. They are often done at the end of one of the longer hikes that we do out there. I went there the other day on a beautiful cool August morning (yes they do exist) and I admit that I really didn’t want to take these stairs back up to the parking lot after a bit of a frustrating hike. The hike itself wasn’t bad but it was that I had forgotten our dog’s walking collar and so I had connected the leash to her “normal” collar. When we do that, she’s not quite as cooperative while walking. So, neither of us were too happy by the end of the hike and I just wanted to get back to the parking lot. Unfortunately, I forgot which way I was going and ended up at the base of the Jedi Steps…
Gotta say though that having to take these steps after a hike like that really fit what I hear in Psalm 24, especially verses 3 and 4.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
There is some literalness and figurativeness to what is said in this Psalm. Who can ascend toward God? Those who are seeking after God. But there was also a literal hill that one had to ascend to get to Jerusalem – the Holy City. I have not been there, but have been told that it isn’t an easy walk. So, there’s a literal sense to it as well – is one ready to physically ascend the hill of the Lord?
The path of following is difficult. It is not easy to live life with clean hands and a pure heart. It is not easy to avoid what is false and to not “swear deceitfully.” It takes work, perseverance, and patience. But gratefully it is also following one who is forgiving and grace-filled. One who is willing to accept us even as we climb frustrated as I did last Friday…