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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

To the Mountaintop, a Triptych Part Three

Trekking to the mountaintop this band of beasts and saints

Sergeant Jesus in the fore with commands, a luminous path He paints

“Deny yourself!” He shouts at every turn

“Struggle for Godliness and brother; unless you want to burn!”

“Be like beheaded saints of old whose eyes of heart focused on Kingdom rule,

To neither pleasure-quest nor pain of evils did those saints succumb; they were no fools,

Whose egos fell like dresses to reveal naked hearts of gold,

Headless they lived their lives and headless went to heaven, servants brave and bold. “

On our journey-mysterious we hikers stopped to look below

The beast imperious imprisoned spewing anger and excuses, such a pathetic fellow

Germs of confusion and lies he broadcast before he went, to infect the innocent if he could

While waiting for the Lake of Fire, that hopeless fiend of wood.

We, the remnant, climbed faster and higher to escape the image of that bound-up beast

With energy renewed, we grabbed branches to hoist ourselves from his fire’s feast

When suddenly before us on that mysterious mountainside appeared

Judgment thrones of marble stone with Sergeant waiting for us who feared.    

Souls of spirits long arrested, added to our ranks affected

Us hikers, mountain climbers who stopped to be inspected

Foreheads and hands we did display for marks of the bound-up beast

Who allowed him to pollute their minds or which hands work for him to please?

It is true I saw it then that some among us suffered

Locked into death, a dark prison of self-centered choosing, so much tougher

While others went on to follow the Son, Sergeant Jesus our commander, with affection

For the easiest mile of the climb followed the first resurrection.

After what seemed a thousand of years, the beast was released from his prison

To wage war on the world with lies and deceits pitting nation against holy nation

Until the moment that God said “The end.”

And fire came down out of heaven.

From our mountaintop perch we saw the face of the earth all ablaze

With billions of bombs aimed at each other engulfed in a blinding haze

Except for us on the mountain path, no one noticed the fire raining from heaven

To devour devious devil and beast before flinging them into torment unending.

With the perpetrator and great deceiver gone

He who enticed with lies that no one couldn’t deliver on

Convincing each fool that his own way lead to joy or fate

It was time for God of truth and rules to select His holy mate.

Back on mountain top we spied our master and commander king

Sergeant Jesus megaphone firmly in hand, I really think he liked that thing

Shouted to us to form a single line for the second and final judgment day

“There will be no third for saints or sinners” he hollered, “to go another way.”

Then books were opened and the Book we hikers most feared and dreaded,

To see whose names were written, and where each of us was headed

To see who loved more than hated;

And who was willing to be beheaded and berated?

Who worshipped God and Him alone instead of power brokers

Who faithfully stayed on the luminous path of commands while others were only jokers

Or for whom did Sunday morning cozy beds ring louder than bells and hymns

Who suffered in the world and soul so much (s)he let Christ’s own light dim?

Every line perused the judges in the open Books of Life and of works

for what each soul accomplished and achieved by free strong will, or who was killed by jerks  

to land in the Lake of Fire to be tormented by memories of earthly bliss

Tormented all the more that ignorance, willfulness, and doubts lead them to this.

Tear drenched faces of the living

Turned to the Son who had stopped forgiving

To dry their eyes so they could see New Jerusalem descending

Adorned as a bride for her husband unending.

Purified, white satin shimmering

Mountaintop winners winning

Champions afew stepping into Shalom city they always lived in

To see the face of God and to touch Him

Victorious-arms raised high having endured ages of turmoil

Receive their jeweled crowns, then bent down to kiss the holy soil

Heard God say

My holy world without end is born today.