Thursday, October 23, 2008

Coming to the Mountain

"You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly to the church of the first born whose names are written in heaven." Hebrews 12:23

Yesterday, we took some time to drive out of the city and into the country on the windward side of the island of Oahu. We drove along and took many stops, trying to take in the magnificent beauty, the mountains exploding upward through the clouds, the mist hanging low and making everything shimmer, and the little coves and inlets dotted along the coast. All the traffic and all of the tourists could not obliterate the created beauty of this place. God must be right at home here, and angels must know these streets well.

We also saw for ourselves the needs of so many, the kids who come from all over to paradise, thinking they can find work and an easy life, only to be on the streets and broken, burnt by the sun. They dig through trash bins and detritus hoping for a bit of a meal or a cigarette. The reality of our human existence is a series of intersections of absolute poverty and seemingly endless wealth. The collision of extraordinary beauty and complete selfishness. The convergence of sorrow and joy. We are reminded in Hebrews that what we see around us, whether beautiful or horrible is not the complete story. We are truly surrounded by thousands upon angels, heavenly creatures, hidden among the sharp, rough edges of life. We are in a broken church which is buoyed up by a God who created beauty and joy without end. We are planted in paradise, even when life is excruciatingly awful.

I want to be able today to see beyond my own limits. I want to see who is behind me, holding me up and remember that people everywhere are praying for peace, are praying for our harmony knowing that God is the source of all the peace and harmony we can entertain. May we glimpse, if even in a split second, that vision of a community, surrounded by angels, surrounded by light and water and life - a paradise hidden but just around the corner.

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