Mountaintop

Matthew’s Gospel comes to an end with a curious phrase as the resurrected Jesus meets his disciples on the mountaintop. Verse 17 says, “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” This is an amazing and beautiful verse for me. Here are the remaining 11 disciples who had walked with Jesus for years – they had seen the miracles, saw his power, and here were seeing the one who had died now walking among them. Yet some doubted even then. I would be so easy to question the faith of those disciples but there is a beautiful reality to them. As I wrote a few weeks ago about the patterns of some of the books I am reading, I resonate with those disciples. I resonate with having seen the amazing power of God at work time and time again, felt the movement and power of the Holy Spirit in my life, felt the presence of Jesus through the best times and the worst and yet, there are times that believing feels so very hard. Doubts creep in. Fear creeps in. Times where it feels like climbing a huge flight of stairs carrying some heavy object.

Yesterday, in the sermon in worship, a core part of what I felt and heard was about the place in between known and unknown. That is the place that we live most of our lives. There are few places that are places of total known and total unknown. So we live in that middle place. That middle place where we just have to take one step at a time in faithfulness, trusting in the One who has walked with us in the past, and will walk with us no matter where the journey goes. It means at times I’ll be on the mountaintop with Jesus and I’ll be able to worship in total fullness and absolute belief. And other times, I’ll be in that exact same place and I’ll be like those doubting disciples. But either way I am not there alone. Jesus is there on that mountain, no matter how I am feeling – thanks be to God for that truth.

And just like the disciples on the mountain, even those who doubted – they are there together. The community is gathered there together – all of them in their different places of belief. But together. Lifting each other up, holding to each other, there with Jesus. I am grateful for those along the journey these last several months who have been the belief when I felt like that named group on the mountaintop – for those who have and who continue to pray for us, lift us up, and bless us in so many ways. I am especially grateful for my amazing wife who has done that for me time and time again. Community gathered and blessing. Thanks be to God.

There’s a song that I’ve been listening to a lot lately by Jars of Clay called “Call My Name” that captures much of this – times of knowing exactly where we are called and times in the darkness looking for the light. But through it all there is the presence of God, the voice of God, the gathered community.

I’ll go when You call me

I run when You tell me where to go

We are desert walkers under shady clouds

Your fire shows there’s more of You to know

Let our idols fail, vanity subside

And we will see the beauty in our lives

When You call my name

When You call my name

Send me to the edge of the Earth

Show me what our life is worth

When You call my name

I will wait in the darkest hour

For You will be a light on this road

Lead me out to the ground I’ve never walked on

Only to rely on You alone

Let our idols fail, vanity subside

And we will see the beauty in our lives

When You call my name

When You call my name

Send me to the edge of the Earth

Show me what our life is worth

When You call my name

When You call my name

This is my Father’s world

And to my listening ear

My heart is still at home

When I hear You call my name

When You call my name

When You call my name

When You call my name

When You call my name

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