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A Mountaintop Experience
by Julianne Jones
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Mountains fascinate me. Perhaps itís because where I grew up the nearest mountain was just a glorified hill; perhaps itís because I was a young mother with two children before I first touched snow; or perhaps itís because where I now live there are two mountains that stand sentinel over our town providing an awe-inspiring backdrop to the daily round of life.

Whatever the reason, their sheer breath-taking beauty inspires me: to write, to live, to worship. At the most unexpected of times I have found myself arrested by the mountains, suddenly forced to pause and marvel at their beauty.

I have stood and watched as one erupted, sending huge boulders skywards. Iíve stood on the other and felt the urge to sing and shout praises to my Maker. I resisted, not because I was afraid of what others would think, but because placed nearby were signs urging mountain users to refrain from loud noises due to the danger of avalanches. The mix of boulders and twisted posts beside the track bore testimony to the power of the mountain and the fact that this was no idle warning.

The overwhelming sense of awe I experienced when I stood on that mountain has never left me. Itís there when I stand at the base of the mountain and gaze upwards, the peak covered in cloud. Itís there when I catch a glimpse of glaciers in summer, reminders of the blanket of snow to come. I experience it each time I look at the mountain. And it catches me unaware: demanding my attention when I least expect it.

Like last Sunday morning. It had been one of those days: eight people in a house with only one working bathroom, and everyone rushing to get ready for church on time. With shoes in one hand, jewellery in the other, I climbed into the car hoping that my hastily pinned up and freshly washed hair would stay put and not drip down my neck during church.

As we travelled the short distance to church, I reflected that little had changed over the years. How many times had I left beds unmade and dishes undone, hastily dressing the children or myself as we walked out the door? Oftentimes words would be exchanged in anger as we searched for missing shoes or tried to hurry a dawdling child or take time to apply makeup. Hardly the appropriate heart-preparation for praising and worshipping God.

But on this particular day, as we crested the small hill where our church stood, I heard my husband exclaim: ďLook at that!Ē Lifting my head I saw the mountain, clothed in white, the sun reflecting off its surface. It was indeed an awesome sight.

My soul lifted in praise. The sight of the mountain removed all previous cares and concerns and turned my heart to the One who had created all the earth.

Once seated in church I reflected that the Psalmist understood that all creation praises our God and Maker:

Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord from the heavens,
praise Him in the heights above.
Praise Him, all His angels,
praise Him, all His heavenly hosts.
Praise Him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for He commanded and they were created.
He set them in place for ever and ever;
He gave a decree that will never pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightening and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do His bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and maidens,
old men and children.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for His name is exalted;
His splendour is above the earth and the heavens.
He has raised up for His people a horn,
the praise of all His saints,
of Israel, the people close to His heart.

Praise the Lord.*

That morning I thanked Him that He had given me a reminder of His majesty and glory through the mountain. That morning I rejoiced to be able to praise Him with all creation. That morning I learnt to worship at His holy mountain.**

Each time I glimpse either mountain I am reminded of how He revealed Himself to me that day and I bow before Him in awe.

Praise the Lord, O my soul, praise the Lord.

* Psalm 148 (NIV)
** Psalm 99:9 (NIV)

(773 words)

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