When the Mountains Become Flat

I recently took a trip with my family out to Colorado and we spent some time up in the mountains.  It was a wonderful trip and we had the opportunity to see a different part of God’s beautiful creation.  Of course it made my wife nervous when I took in the beauty of God’s creation while driving up the side of the mountains, but even the view out of the corner of my eye was amazing.

As we got to the first place that we were staying, we were sitting in the dining hall. As I ate my food I wanted to make sure that I was close to the window so that I could just sit and stare at the beauty that was all around us.  As I sat in that dining hall I also looked around at the others who were sitting and eating and I noticed that they did not seem to have the same reaction that I was having.  In my own mind I’m thinking to myself “Are you even paying attention to the scene that is right outside this window?”  All I could wonder was had the mountains become flat to these people?  Did they even care what was outside?  Did they even want to be here?

As I continued to think and dwell on what I observed I thought to myself that what I was observing is not dissimilar to the grace of God in Jesus Christ.  Let me explain.  As a Lutheran Pastor and someone who has grown up in the Lutheran Church I have heard and preached on a weekly basis about what Jesus has done for you and for me.  “The article on Justification by faith is the most important of all Christian teachings, without which no poor conscience can have lasting comfort or recognize properly the riches of Christ’s grace.”[1] We know about grace.  We teach grace.  We proclaim that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE. Grace is the proverbial mountains. When grace clicks for people they can’t get enough of it.  When grace is understood by people all they want to do is sit by the window and look at it taking every bit of it in.  For many when they get a taste of the grace of Jesus Christ they tend to look around in bewilderment at every one else around them and think to themselves what is wrong with these people?  People might begin to wonder if the others that are around them have any idea of what grace is all about because they clearly don’t seem to be as excited about it.

As I sat looking around I almost became indignant with the people who I was eating with because I could not understand their lack of excitement.  There were no doubt people would sat in that room would could have not cared less that they were sitting in the mountains and in fact would have rather been somewhere completely different, but I would imagine that most of the people who were sitting their looked at the mountains the same way that I did at one time.  I would also imagine that they had a better understanding of the mountains than I did knowing the peaks and valleys.  They didn’t just visit the mountain they lived in the mountains.  They did not just observe it for a moment but took it in for a life time.  As workers greeted me they welcomed me and my family and invited us to partake in what they were living in the beauty of the mountains. They were no longer “surprised” by the beautiful landscape but rather it was something that they expected every morning when they woke up.  They didn’t appreciate the mountains less than me and in fact they may have had a deeper appreciation for them.

There are many who understand the radicle good news of Jesus Christ crucified and risen for all people and go about their daily business in that grace always knowing it is there.  Do we at times run the risk of losing sight of the “mountain?” Of course our own sinfulness which manifest itself in so many ways whether it is through pride, guilt, an easy life or and extremely difficult life tries to distract us from the mountains around us.   Yet when that happens our savior gently lifts our head up out of our own lives and draws our attention to the greatest mountain ever to exist, the mountain where grace flows down because of Christ going up for you and for me.

Hebrews 12:2 (ESV) looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

[1] Solid Declaration, Article III:6

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