On This Mountain

Last week I talked about deadlines closing in on me. One of them was SoulStream’s Living from the Heart course. It would be my first time co-facilitating a six-day intensive in spiritual formation, and I wanted to prepare well for it. Shortly before I left to go on the course, which was held on Sumas Mountain near Abbotsford, I happened to read these verses:

Transfiguration_by_Feofan_Grek_from_Spaso-Preobrazhensky_Cathedral_in_Pereslavl-Zalessky_(15th_c,_Tretyakov_gallery) On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
    a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
    the best of meats and the finest of wines.
 On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
     he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
    from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.

 In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God;

    we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him;

    let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
         -Isaiah 25:6-9 (NIV)

As I read about the feast and fine wines that would be enjoyed on “this mountain”, I sensed God elbowing me in the ribs and winking at me. We were going to be on a mountain where Peggy and Pat, the hosts of Twin Creeks Lodge, would serve up a feast at every meal. There would be good wine, too, at our midweek Sabbath celebration. God seemed to be saying that, during our intensive, the Holy Spirit would wipe away tears, remove shame and swallow up death. On “this mountain” we would be glad we trusted God.

And we were.

I was one of three facilitators that led the participants in prayers, teachings and activities. Yet we were often aware of a fourth: the Holy Spirit. During a silent pause, the wind rustled the leaves right on cue. Words in our prayers, chosen weeks before, matched our experience in ways we hadn’t anticipated. Bravery was given, honest words spoken, bruised reeds protected, and smouldering wicks shielded. With unveiled faces we beheld God’s glory as we listened to our lives and listened again to God speaking in them. Each person that came to the mountain was transformed in one way or another.

So, what does this mean for you who weren’t there? What does God want you to hear?

One word: Go.

Go meet God. Listen to your heart’s yearning. Fan the embers that burn with love. Feast at God’s table; a place has been set for you. Go, weary pilgrim. Just go.

an open gate by Rachel Hartland

My spirit soared when a Voice 
spoke to me:
“Come, come to the Heart of Love!”
How long I have stood within the house of fear
yearning to enter the gates of Love!
Psalm 122: 1,2
 from Psalms For Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness  by Nan C. Merrill

Credits and references:
Transfiguration by Theophanes the Greek, 15th century.
An Open Gate (Askrigg, Yorkshire Dales) by Rachel Hartland. Used with permission.
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.” Isaiah 42:3 (NIV)
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2014.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013, 2014  http://www.estherhizsa.wordpress.com.

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
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