CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN – (Oscar Hammerstein / Ricard Rogers)

“Climb every mountain,

Ford every stream,

Follow every rainbow

‘Till you find your dream.”

To become aware of the Christ Spirit within all of the Universe; recognizing that the Universe is energy come alive, transforming and being transformed. We are part of that process, growing and changing, developing and filled with the potential – the possibility of life. We see life exploding all around us, and yet our fears of death – of darkness or the unknown inhibit our choosing to receive or to give life. We are afraid of the dark or the unknown. In our fears, we create our own vision of reality, which is limited to our fears of sounds that go bump in the night. We become addicted to wealth and a desire for power; for being in control that we we lose all control while living the illusion that we are in charge. We pretend to know all of the answers, while failing to know the questions. in our small groups, we find like-minded individuals who share in our fears and convince one another that we solve all of the problems that we create for ourselves and for others. If we hang together, we can help one another life with the illusion that we are strong and live in the light while all others live in the dark. Diversity is seen as weakness and a threat to our common good – we feel a need to think and act alike in order to assure us that we are safe from the goblins and ghosts that threaten us.

We walk around with our eyes and senses closed to the world that we live in. When was the last time that you really took some time to look carefully at our world. One of my favorite spots for looking is found in the mountains near Tucson, Arizona. There is a retreat center, located north of Tucson in the mountains. At night, the lights of Tucson are visible in the valley below glow faintly, while the Skys above are black – sprinkled with millions of galaxies and stars, located in an universe that for billions of years has been expanding and growing; a mystery of wonder and beauty. And then to recognize that I – that We – are part of that miracle. The Sun and the Moon; the planets and the Stars – light years away, seem to be touchable.

To walk the desert during the day – to experience close-up the great diversity of life, both plant and animal. To see one form of cactus seem to reach out to touch you while others reach to touch the sky. To see a desert, seemingly absent of water, filled with life of many kinds – snakes and scorpions, coyotes howling, and road-runners; contrary to my early expectations, the Desert is filled with a grand and beautiful diversity of life and they all work together – to enable each to live. Another miracle to remember is that of the evolution or change that takes place over the centuries – as all of life adapts to a changing environment and is then changed, in a never ending circle.

Fear prevents us, so often, of accomplishing great things. We are afraid of losing the approval of others, of death, of failure, of making mistakes and punishment. We choose a world of negativity or death, rather than a world of positive thinking and life. We get wrapped up in anger about diversity of ideas, beliefs, thoughts, cultures, and accept hatred and violence against others who are different. Over the centuries, we justified killing or enslaving others because they would not accept the culturally established religious beliefs, which threatened the power of those in charge. We have somehow created a religious culture of fear of punishment, with a structure that promises to alleviate that fear by promising reward through obedience and dependence on those who have assumed roles of power and authority. We have so often put salvation up for sale to the highest bidders – we have commercialized religion.

The question to be wrestled with is how do we turn a culture that has thrived on fear and negativity into a positive and life-giving celebrating community. How do we return to reflecting on the Gospel Message and imitate Jesus, who told his disciples to follow him – to do what he did. He told them to feed the hungry, heal the wounded and sick and to give their lives for those most marginalized. He taught them not to face their fears and to recognize that same Christ Spirit within them and within all of life that Jesus recognized within himself. He promised them that no matter what, that same spirit would be with them in their most difficult moments, while proclaiming the Good News of God’s intimately sharing the journey of creation calling all to fulfillment.

We begin to climb the mountains at birth; to reach out and to learn how to crawl, to speak, to allow life to transform us on our journey. At first we depend on others to encourage us and to be there with us – to be dependent. We begin to climb mountains, however small they seem, be becoming more independent and willing to risk failure along the way. We fall down and we get back up. Sadly, there are many who are born into circumstances without support or care. So often, they fail to learn how to climb mountains, but rather live in coal mines – in the darkness of death instead of life. In reality, the great majority of us live somewhere in between – we live in the dark at times and in the light at other times, afraid of the dark but also afraid of the light.

Mountains are integral to life – to engage in the struggle and challenges that life brings to all of us along our journey. We climb to the top of one mountain and see the beautiful valley below, and in the distance, another mountain to climb – another struggle to engage in. Jesus was constantly challenging his students not to be afraid – to let go and trust God who walks with us. Life itself is a journey and we are part of that miracle of becoming. The story of Jesus is that of understanding that all of life is inter-dependent. None of us stand alone and the world was not created just so that anyone of us would be the center. The stories of the Scriptures continually speak to us of our human limitations, our blindness and deafness. They remind us of our greed, our self-centeredness, and our arrogance, believing that we and only we know just what God wants. We create great philosophical works and teachings and decide which are and are not approved by God. And yet, we change along our journey; we begin to see as through a glass darkly as Saint Paul said. We struggle to understand and inch by inch, we learn – to open our hearts and our minds, not standing in judgement, but rather in compassion and love. We are called to recognize that we are one creation, coming to be: Together! We need one another in all of our diversity and this is part of the human struggle; one of the mountains that we are called to climb, but that we need each other, recognizing that Christ Spirit that resides within all of creation; all of the stars and planets; all of life coming to be. We have the choice to go and hide in a dark cave somewhere and choose to die or to climb the mountains together towards life.

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