I’ve always been fascinated by mountains. I think I get it from my dad. When I was younger, my family always used to go to the mountains for Thanksgiving every year. We would rent a cabin in the middle of nowhere and all 30 of us would cram into this sacred space for a week’s time. We ate all of our meals at the dining room table together and spent our time between meals playing games, watching movies, and making memories. I don’t always have the best memory. But, I could specifically tell you what the cabin looked like, what it smelled like, what it felt like to be there with people I cared about so much. I think our tenderest memories are like this— they are such sensory reminders of sweet fellowship. I miss the time we spent together in the mountains, but at the same time, I don’t think they would be as sweet of memories if we went there regularly. The irregularity of the experience made it memorable, a true treasure.
When people ask me what I love most about England, I am always quick to give them the same answer: the landscape. I love that I could drive thirty minutes (well, I wouldn’t actually be driving because that would be terrifying) in one direction and be at the beach and drive (ok, ride) thirty minutes the other direction and be in the mountains. During my first couple of weeks in England, our team trekked up a mountain in the Lake District together. Standing at the top, the sky seemed so close, I felt like I could reach out and touch the sky and could hear the angels having a party in heaven.
I think God is fascinated with mountains, too. Before I moved across the pond, God kept bringing me to Hebrews 12:22-24, which says:
“But you have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the city of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.”
Reading those verses gives me chills. I’m enraptured by the fact that God compares heaven to a mountain— a mountain which all throughout Scripture represents the City of David, this promised sacred space where God meets with his people. Through the first couple of months that I lived here, I read these same verses over and over. My spirit longed for the day when I would get to step foot in the heavenly Jerusalem and see Mount Zion with my own eyes.
God legitimately blows my mind. A couple of days ago, I was flipping through my Bible and one of those crazy moments happened that we as Christians always say never really works. My pages stopped turning as I read from Psalm 125 and hoped this random piece of Scripture would somehow speak to me. Oh, it did.
“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.”
First of all, David is a really good writer. Second of all, whoa. My pulse began racing as God began whispering truth and mysteries to me that I cannot figure out on my own. For so much of my life, I am longing, waiting for something. I’m waiting for the next adventure, the next journey. I’m waiting for the struggles to cease or hoping for heaven. And I do think God wants us to wait with expectation for heaven. But, I don’t think Mount Zion just exists within the walls of heaven. I think it’s something God calls me. Not because I’m perfect or righteous, but because the story he weaves throughout all of eternity helps me fall in love with him over and over again.
His kingdom, his presence, his hopes, and dreams don’t merely wait for me at the gates of heaven. They exist within me. He wrote them on my heart when he created me. Mount Zion isn’t something I have to longingly wait for; it’s a fellowship with God I have now. It’s a spirit he gives me that cannot be shaken. It’s an identity that cannot be moved by the cares of this world.
I do believe heaven will be a lot like my memories of the mountains: full of fellowship, love, and life. But, I’ve decided to stop waiting for those things to happen and start experiencing them. They are happening now and now isn’t going to wait for me.
I used to write “my Mount Sinai” in the white space in my Bible to identify passages or moments when God had spoken to me (representative of Moses’ meeting with God on Mount Sinai). But, I’ve decided that maybe I need to go through and cross out “Mount Sinai” so I can replace it with “Mount Zion”. God’s breathing eternity into my identity everyday, not on special occasions (like he met Moses on Mount Sinai). My very existence is wrapped up in his mountain. In his unshakeable, immovable, ever-present, never-ending mountain.