Mountaintops (2)

The surprisingly elusive messages of Amy Grant and Gary Chapman’s old song “Mountain Top” come into my consciousness every few months.  Here are some of the words:

I love to sing and I love to pray
I worship the Lord most every day
I go to the temple and I just want to stay
To hide from the hustle of the world and its ways

I love to live on a mountain top
And be fellowshippin’ with the Lord
Love to stand on a mountain top
Because I love to feel my spirit soar
But I must come down from that mountain top
To the people in the valley below
They’ll never know that they can go
To the mountain of the Lord

Do these words encourage or discourage “mountaintop” experiences?  Does the song say “yay, mountaintops! go for them!” or “put the ‘mountaintops’ in perspective”?  I’m not sure I can tell, based on the last two lines.  The song’s musical style is kinda calypso-ish and fun, but its message confuses me.

Recently, I heard a sister affirm those around us who seem to live on these spiritual mountaintops.  She was gracious and genuine in the affirmation, but I couldn’t help but think, “I really don’t resonate with those mountain-people’s words very often.”  People who walk about saying, “Oh, the Lord’s been teaching me so much this week!” and “God is good—all the time!” seem as though they live in an alternate universe–one that realizes the absolute goodness of God, yes, but one that doesn’t seem in touch with humanity.

A poem quoted by Avon Malone in Bible class years ago at Harding University sticks with me:

To dwell above with the saints in love
Aye, that will be glory!
But to dwell below with the saints I know–
That is a different story. . . .

Q:  Does the Christian walk strike you as a series of peaks, or more of a ridge, or a series of hikes up and down, into and out of valleys?

Tomorrow:  mountains in scripture


2 thoughts on “Mountaintops (2)

  1. Rachel 03/20/2011 / 7:50 am

    If by “live on these spiritual mountaintops,” you mean they never come down, that doesn’t really make much sense. (I’m just affirming what you’re saying.) Isn’t a large part of the experience the fact of having hiked up the mountain? To stay there would take away some of the very fact of it being a “mountaintop experience.”

    A: Maybe we hike different types of mountains at different times in our lives. My initial reaction (probably representative of the past few months) was to say that life is sometimes similar to a ridge in that one isn’t in valley, but one isn’t on a mountaintop either, though there could be sudden drops and rises. Or it could be like walking up those mountains with mini-peaks – where one gets to the top and thinks, “Oh, this is nice!” and then looks up and see how far one has to go, and that there’s a big dip between here and there… However, over the past few years, I could see how it could be more like a series of hikes up and down, into and out of valleys.


    • Brian Casey 03/20/2011 / 8:40 am

      Your words sound as though you’re a lot older than you are. (The perspective of time alters and refines thoughts.) I’m with you on the nature of it all, which you knew already.

      I could go with either the ridge analogy or the “into & out of valleys” one. Probably depends on how many years one is considering at once. By that I mean that if I look at, say, two years of my life, the peaks and valleys seem more stark; the ups and downs are at sharper angles. But in looking at 10 or 20 years of life, the line graph smooths out a little, and it might look more like a walking along a ridge, where there are drops and rises, but less sharp.


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