Summary: We will face obstacles as we strive onward to Mount Zion but we must see them as opportunities for ministry
"When Mountains Won't Move"
-Reverend A. LaMar Torrence,
Pastor of Cross of Life Lutheran Church
“I am bound for Mount Zion way up on a hill.And if anyone is going to make it, surely I will."
Those words seem to sum up our mission as we travel along our pilgrim's journey. We seek to obtain that great eschatological promise of an eternal celebration. We even seek to possess a portion of the celestial kingdom here in our current reality. It is our prayer that God's kingdom will come and the Lord's will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven.
We want a bit of heaven down here on earth. That's why we dream our dreams and see our visions. We want to make Mount Zion into a reality.
We have the passion for the project. We have a conviction for the cause.
We want to do, what God will have us to do. But, our pathways seem to be filled with rugged hills and steep mountains. We want to affect a change but there are some mountains in way. We want to turn our declining churches into revitalized missionary soul saving stations but we have some mountains in our way. We want to transform our ruined cities and severely distressed neighborhoods into empowered and thriving communities but we have some mountains in our way. We want feed the hungry, welcome the stranger into our midst, clothe the naked, and comfort those who mourn but we have some mountains and hills in our way. And it's not that we don't have faith to move those mountains.
I believe most of us are confident that we could move the mountains, only if somebody would just clear all those hills out of our way."
It seems that we cannot get to the mountains because we are constantly confronted with hills. We can’t address the real issues because of the pettiness around us. Our nation can’t address the mountains of terrorism, falling stock prices, and race relations because we are still distracted by Jennifer Flowers, White Water, and Monica Lewinski. We cannot confront the mountains of social injustice, sexism, and classism because we have to climb over our conflicts of interest, policies and procedures, and bureaucratic red tape. Our churches cannot deal with the mountains of violence, drugs, and AIDS because we are separated by ridges of doctrine, dogma, and denominationalism.
We can't move the mountains of homeless people, the unemployed, or pregnant teenagers because we are besieged with mounds of church folks fighting over pews, stained glass windows, and hymnals. We can't deal with the real issues because we are surrounded by individuals making mountains out of molehills. Even in our personal lives, we cannot deal with the real problems because we distracted by other issues. We cannot deal with our troubled marriages because we are distracted by our careers and social obligations. We cannot deal with our troubled teenagers because we are focused on making ends meet.
We cannot deal with the emptiness we feel inside because we are caught up in our own insecurities.
And it seems that our distractions – those various mountains and hills -- have become places of worship preventing us from pursuing God's vision. We tend to worship the aesthetic rather than focusing on the pragmatic. We rather worship our way than walk in a Godly way.
As a result our churches have more programs than wholistic ministries.
We have more social clubs and cliques than fellowships. We find ourselves with music ministries that are only Glee clubs; we have men and women ministries that are only the Boys and Girls club; we host bible studies that have now become the Book of the Month Club.
If only those days will come when the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains and shall be raised above the hills and the nations shall stream to it. If only we could get people to leave their mountains of false worship and go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. If only we could get caught up in Godly worship rather than spiritless routines. If only we could empowered people to pursue the vision of a place where the hungry are fed, the homeless have shelter, the sick are healed, and the captives are freed. Only, if someone could just move those hills – those distractions out of our way -- maybe then we can get to Mount Zion. Maybe then we can get to that place where our churches are filled with disciples rather than members. Maybe then we can get to that place where we are tithing and not just making change. If someone could just conquer those hills and lead us to Zion, maybe then we could worship the Lord.