To the Mountaintop – a Triptych, Part One

I don’t dare hike up Mt. Sabbatus today because of the shotgun sounds I hear.

Would there be enough time to tell that rifle that I am not a deer?

Instead I’ll drift back to the summer day I climbed with friends.

Huffing and puffing trekking higher using tree roots for steps

My peppy pup Gus enjoyed showing off;

Four legs climbing so much faster than two

Gus waited patiently for us to catch up.

Which is what any nice guy would do

Six sweaty backs, groping for the end

Till finally we sited the small monument

that reminds hikers of young Tom’s accidental death

Just what we wanted to see!

Yes, because it meant good views and rest

No because, exhausted, we imagined how Tom may have felt that day to reach his stop

We were stung by the glad and sad meanings of the end

until we found the view.

Our eyes spanned the great valley beneath; little lakes, lots of treetops.

Too high to see people or their homes,

too high to hear lies, too high to be squeezed through  days at work.

I wanted to stay on the mountain and talk to God.


Like Moses who climbed Sinai alone to visit God

 Who lived there with His telescopic x-ray eyes

Watching the good, the bad, and the vast lukewarm.

No wonder God sent Jesus to us below.

To lead us to the mountaintop

Distance from diabolical dirty disease of evil

Closeness to God’s light and ultimate purpose

View of glorious New Jerusalem descending.

Opening of the books and Book of Life


Sergeant Jesus leads the expedition to the pinnacle of Holy Mountain

“This hike is not for cowards or liars,” he says

We are warned of the dangers.

Troops must trust each other.

At the foot of the great mountain Sergeant J sends unbelievers away.

Who could climb so long and hard and high without a hope?


Murderers, sorcerers, and those repulsive detestable monsters

He lets right on our path!

Methinks to feed the lake of fire.

Idol worshippers and sex addicts

dressed in camouflage military garb wait not for permission to join

seeking entertainment, and mischief, the beasts.

 Are those fools in for a hot surprise?! No lie!


We true hiker mountain-climbers grab every word that God sends

To us from Sergeant Jesus mouth.

“Know the RULES he shouts, write them on your hands and hearts.

Cling to me as we climb.

If sincerely you seek the top you must be more than ordinary men.

Dangers lurk around each corner.

Enemies are among us

whoever endures until the end,

will see the New Jerusalem descend. Let’s go!”


Off he strides with two long steps before he turns to say,

“My reward is with me,” then he shouts,” to give to every hiker, mountain climber,” then louder, “according to his WORK.”


Raring to go, we start out fast; surprised by the ease.

“Help those in trouble,” we hear Sarge call, megaphone in hand

And when he sees us tiring or veering off the path he yellls, “foCUS!” Just like that.

Once I tripped upon a root, fell and scraped my knee

which caused ugliness to spill from my mouth in say

so I heard him shout to me,

 “No swearing here, ten yard penalty. Hops, go to the rear!”

Off I went in shame and humility.


That night in camp I overheard a hiker complain

that someone stole his compass and water bottle,

two important things.

Sarge overheard and said, “Let it go. Give to the thieves and beggars whatever they desire without a second thought, you hear?”

That was the day I first noticed the air felt thinner and didn’t dare look down.


He pushed me! I heard another complain, whining all the while.

Sergeant just grinned and said, “Give the man a smile.”                                                                                                                                                                                

If only the murders and monsters had been sent away,

this could have been a journey of happier holy hikers,

reaching for their mountaintop day. 


And so ends part one with my complaint retroactive constructive recommendation.

Not the end yet my friend.                               

To the Mountaintop – a Triptych, Part Two

20:12 ‘And I saw the dead small and great standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.’ 21:1 ‘Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. 9 ‘Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.

And so it was that Sergeant Jesus lead our troop on an expedition up that great and high mountain to witness the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven.  The small and the great, the saved and the doomed all climbed up the mountain behind the only one who knew the way. We all knew that the doomed would never see New Jerusalem descend, but we were never absolutely sure who was doomed and so we all climbed together being guided by the commands of our leader.

Sometimes as we climbed, for relief from the struggle, in unison we recited prayers to God on high: Our Father who art in heaven. Marching and praying marching and praying. How did he know, that Sarge of ours, which hiker prayed from the mouth and not the heart? A little tap on the shoulder to remind the perpetrator to chew on what his mouth was saying. And again, I’d hear the bellow, “FoCUS, two three four.”

Evening camp, moments always too fleeting for cozy rest, meant more work for Sergeant Jesus for they were the infirmary hours for sick and lame.

“Be healed now” and then “but go and sin no more.” I heard him say to the repentant ill, wondering how it was that Jesus never sneezed or coughed.

When once He heard too much grumbling in the ranks, back biting, back stabbing from those who got the hang of climbing, megaphone firmly in hand the troop was ordered to stop before another breath.

“This is NOT a suggestion.” Megaphone high enough for all to hear, a hundred miles around. “Do not judge, criticize or condemn your fellow travelers. Or to the fires you will go. When eyes are on the others, they are obviously not where they belong, watching steps lest you fall and roll back down this mountain. We will not come after you. I repeat, if your eyes are focused on your neighbor and not the road beneath your feet, with obstacles a plenty, when you fall, and of that there is no doubt, down the hill you’ll land. No one reaches the top leaping over the faults of another.” 

I don’t know when it first occurred to me that Sergeant Jesus was leading his bride to the altar.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

The Day After Heaven


Coming down from the mountaintop adventure in the Triptych; returning to this old earth of time and sorrows is a kind of falling asleep, permission to forget what is important and what is not, to roll back into our patterns of joy and sorrow, anger and peace, work and rest.

I look out my window to see men and women running and biking to keep their bodies healthy by sending oxygen into their bloodstreams, building muscle mass, and limbering their joints. Reading and thinking about the judgment seat and the day we enter the life of the ages to come keeps our souls limber.

We humans are made in the intelligent image and likeness of God. Through our brilliant minds, we have dominion over the earth and everything on it. Our great inventions are proof of our dominion, they give humanity ever increasing powers and efficiencies, overcoming decay and delaying bodily death.

But it is not enough to have dominion over this world, or even power over our own emotions. God wants us to be united to Him in spirit. That’s another important reason why Christ allowed Himself to be crucified. He said in John 16, “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” The Holy Spirit comes to us who ask for Him and receive Him. He is the very Spirit of God, the helper and healer. He is the breath of God that we must breathe daily to have immortal life in us.

Each person born is free to unite with the spirit of God or to be consumed by the war between good and evil being waged in this world. My mission is to always remind you that we are in the world but not of it, that we have a goal that is richer than mountains of gold, mightier than any army on earth no matter how large or well equipped, and more important than any achievement earth-bound man can ever attain. We are gods and if we follow the yellow brick road, and keep our spirits aimed to our Father who art in heaven, this eternal life of ours will radiate forever.

For today, the anticipation of a national day of Thanksgiving to God and even greater, of the celebration of the 2,010 birthday of Christ makes me feel that the sun is rising after a long dark night all over again! Let’s get ready for the ADVENT-ure that is in store for us.