Comment from Ken: I always look forward to walking with you. Your comments all always welcome. Have a wonderful week.
Scripture: Matthew 4: 7 – 11
7Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
8Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
11Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
Good morning. As it is raining out this morning, once again I think it best to sit and visit near my desk. How are you today? Did you begin today with a quick prayer for God to be with you? I guess sometimes I forget, but I know I need Him to be present each time I visit with you. Do you begin your day with a prayer or do you, like me, sometimes just pray to Him over and over again as you walk through your day?
Last week we celebrated Dale’s birthday. When I asked her what she would like for a gift, she said that she would like to go up Mount Washington on the Cog Railway. So we made arrangements to do exactly that. Kathryn and Tom said they would watch Molly while we made that trip, and so we left Molly with Kadie early in the morning. Off trotted Molly like she did not need us at all.
We arrived at the Cog Railway around ten o’clock knowing that the train could be boarded around fifteen minutes before it left for the summit. It leaves on the half hour every hour.
Now Dale was excited and so was I. When I was a pre teen, my parents took my sister Mildred and me up to the White Mountains. Memories flooded back as Dale and I waited to board the train. My parents, my sister, and I stayed at the Crawford House that later burned down. As we took the elevator up in that hotel to go to our rooms, we heard water rushing. The elevator was actually water powered, and it seemed to take about five minutes to go up one floor. That was the last time we took the elevator to go to our rooms. The next day, we rode up Mount Washington on the Cog Railway.
It was time for Dale and I to board the train; we sat on the right side of the train. I wanted Dale to be near the window so that she could best see the view. Now when I had gone up on the Cog so many years ago, there were only steam-powered engines. Now there are bio-fueled diesels. One steam engine is still used, and it climbs the mountain at around nine in the morning. On the steam engine, there is a stop at the water tower to add water to make the steam for the trip the rest of the way up the mountain. No such stop with the biodiesel.
Up we went over what they call Jacob’s Ladder where the grade is so steep that if someone stands up it looks as if they are leaning backward or very forward. Several people stood up to witness the strange defiance of gravity.
The view was spectacular; yet, as we went up the mountain looking to our right, we could not see very far off. On our descent, we sat on the right side, and there were views of the “Great Gulf”. Dale and I sat in the very front seat going down so that we could see the track in front of us and the huge drop off of the mountain beside us.
When we arrived at the top of Mount Washington, I was amazed at the number of people milling about. There was a long line to have a picture taken at the cairn at the very summit. There were tourists and hikers everywhere. The Sherman Adams building was overflowing with people. How different it was from when I visited the mountain some sixty-five years ago. Back then, there were very few people on the mountain, and the huge building at the top was not there. It was a very rustic, barren place with few amenities and very few people. That part, although I should not have been surprised, was disappointing to me.
Our trip down the mountain was ever so beautiful. We were so fortunate for the day was sometimes cloudy and then sunny, but the view was not very much obscured. Clouds blew in and out, but you could still see many of the surrounding mountains.
That evening we had dinner at an outside restaurant with Kadie and Tom, their dog Ziva, and our Molly. To our surprise, Molly was an angel, and of course, Ziva always acts well. Molly will too some day.
Ok Pastor Boyle, where does the religious experience come in this walk today? I cannot look or be on a mountain without repeating inside myself, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my health. My health cometh from the Lord who maketh heaven and earth.” The mountains seem to lend to one a very feeling of the mighty power of God.
Moses brought down the Ten Commandments from a mountain where he had gone to commune with God. In the Old Testament, we read how many of the prophets climbed mountains to be close to the Almighty. And our Lord, O our Lord, went to the mountains to find quiet, peace, and the answers to life’s eternal problems. We read in scripture that Jesus goes often to the mountains to pray.
It is upon a mountain that Satan tempts Him with a sight of all the kingdoms of the world. Satan tells Jesus that He can be a king, a mighty man with great wealth and power. Jesus we know turns Satan down. He chooses rather to establish a Kingdom of the Spirit, an eternal Kingdom.
It is on a mountainside that he spoke the greatest words of our faith, The Sermon on The Mount. Granted there were a lot of people there, but the mountain gave him a lifted stage upon which to speak. And certainly He felt the presence of His Father in that lifted up place just as He felt that presence when He was alone upon a mountain.
It is upon a mountain with Peter, James, and John that Jesus is transfigured, and His very face shown bright with the light and inspiration of the power of God.
It is upon the Mount of Olives where Jesus prays to God, His Father, to spare Him the pain and agony of the cross. On that Mount of Olives, He accepts the Father’s will to die to show and give to all mankind life and life eternal.
On the cross on a hill, He exemplifies to all people that God the Creator will not let evil overcome good, that good will always triumph.
Going up Mount Washington, arriving at the summit did not bring the thoughts of God that I thought it would. Yes, you marvel at the majesty of the mountains around you, but with so many people, it did not seem to be a place where you could quietly talk with God. But there must be such places in our lives. We need that private, inspirational place, at times, to commune with our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you have such a place in your life? It does not need to be a mountain but a place where you know God can walk with you.
God was there upon that mountain. He was inside so many of the people there; He was present in the surrounding hills and valleys; He was in my loved one beside me; it was just not a quiet place, and we need quiet places to talk with God.
Yes, I did find Him in a strange place – at the very top of Mount Washington where they say the worst weather of the world rages. When I was alone, I found at the very height of that mountain a small plant clinging to the rocky cold surface.
It was a quiet moment for me with God who is with us when we are clinging to life and when times are difficult and barren and cold. We know those times – yet that plant tells us God’s power is with us even then, in the most difficult of times. He is with His living creatures in great and tumultuous days.
Someday, I hope you will go up Mount Washington if you have not done so but be sure you also have a place nearby where you can talk with Jesus our Lord.
Prayer: O Lord our God we thank you for mountains, for quiet places where we my find your will and hopes for us. Help us to have those special places in our lives where we can seek Your power and wisdom, that we may ever do Your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thanks for being with me today and until the next time –
“May God watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.”