Coming Down The Mountain

So I’m back from a 4 week study break and an even longer break than that from this blog. I kinda feel like Moses.

I am in no way comparing my leadership skills or responsibilities to him. He had the weight of leading millions of people and the future of a nation on his shoulders and he was pretty much always in conflict with the very people he was trying to help.

What I’m talking about it are those few moments he had as he was coming down the mountain after spending 40 days with God to right before he heard the commotion of his people worshipping a golden calf. (Which I am relieved to report that there were no golden calf sightings this past Sunday at church…always good news.)

Moses spends 40 days on a mountain. Comes down with two tablets. 10 statements.

That’s it.

I wonder if he thought – is this it? Is this enough? Am I ready for this? Do I want to do this? Am I really just as close to God at the base of the mountain as I am at the summit?

Then all heck broke loose as Joshua tells him what’s going on in the camp. And Moses broke these tablets before he ever got to reveal them.

I have a greater appreciation for what Moses did. 40 days in the wilderness. On the mountain. Having to live, find food, water, shelter. On his own. Listening to Him as he did what was necessary to survive.

The normal becomes the holy.

The mundane becomes the gateway to the sacred.

In seminary I was forced to read The Practice of the Presence of God by a monk named Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence was a kitchen aide in an abbey in Paris, France in the 1600’s. He cooked, peeled potatoes, cleaned dishes, mopped floors. He was a nobody in the abbey. Hardly anyone paid attention to him and he liked it that way. He kept a journal that would eventually become this book.

I get it now. I understand.

When you practice the presence of God in the mundane – it is no longer mundane. It becomes holy.

Holy work.

Where I was staying was fairly rustic. I had a cabin with 4 walls, a roof, a bed and enough electricity to run some lights, a coffee maker, a refrigerator, and a griddle. Anything more than that – things started popping. I didn’t have running water or a bathroom or shower. I had to bring in my water. The bathrooms and shower were located in a ‘community’ shelter a few yards away. No air, no heat.

Everything took longer. I had to be intentional. Nearest town was 22 miles away. Nearest hospital was 42 miles away. No street lights at night. No noise except the wind and a screech-owl that loved to hunt around 1 am.

It wasn’t Moses on the mountain roughing it but it slowed me down, made me focus and think on the task at hand. It wasn’t Club Med.

The mundane became different. Get up. Get warm. Find water. Go to bathroom. Read and study. Cook breakfast. Eat. Go fish til lunch. Clean fish (if I caught anything). Take shower. Read some more. Jot notes in journal. Fall asleep with book on chest in chair in front of cabin. Late-afternoon walk to clear head. Cook dinner. Clean up kitchen. More reading and journaling.

Some evenings, I found myself over at another cabin playing games, swapping stories, and laughing till late at night.

Every activity had to be intentional. No TV. No cell phone. No email. Just me and the moment.

Meeting God in the every day. Doing the mundane with the Holy.

Being there with Him. No agendas. No lessons. No messages. Just Him.

There is a wonderful simplicity in just being in the moment with Him. I can’t quantify it. I can’t seem to quite communicate how to experience Him on the daily trips to get water. But it happened.

I remember the river with my grandparents. Sitting on the pier fishing with Mawmaw. Digging through the worm bucket. Waiting for the pole to bend. Just sitting with her. Watching the Coosa. I didn’t know Him then but that is as close as I get to understanding what happened over the last few weeks.

Meeting Him in the mundane may exactly be the point. That’s the secret of a life well invested, a life well lived.

Can I keep that focus in the noise of the world I choose to live in? Can I still practice the presence of God with carpool, cell phones, and grocery store runs? Is he as present in the plains as he is in the mountains?

Is what I’m coming down the mountain with enough?

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