I love the mountains. To me, they represent beauty and solitude, strength and peace. As an introvert, I approve. Anytime I see pictures of the Colorado landscape (I still haven't been there), I catch myself staring in awe. I've been to Austria and Switzerland, though, so I have been able to view the quiet beauty of mountains in person. The picture to the left is actually from my trip to Europe in high school.
I took a walk early in the morning to have some peace and quiet to myself, before the small town we were staying in woke up. I hiked a few small trails, and came across an outlook that gave me a gorgeous view of the sunrise over the mountainscape. It was breathtaking.
At times like that, I can help but feel joyous. My stomach flutters, and my heart races as endorphines rush through me, kick started by such a magnificent scene. It's strange to me that something so huge, so beautiful, had to be formed from something so destructive and ugly.
Mountains are formed by tectonic plates of the earth crashing together and forcing the earth to form volcanoes. These volcanoes then erupt, and the magma spewed out forms the mountins. Earthquakes result from this jarring experience as well. Now, I haven't been around during the creation of any mountains, but it can't be a pleasant experience: the earth is shaking, fire is erupting, and a massive change is happening. Something is coming, yes, but the events that take place to usher in the newness are not pretty. But the end result is beautiful.
I can't help but think the new covenant given to us through Jesus when I think about the formation of mountains. What Jesus had to do to bring something new to us was horrid. Blood was spilled, immense suffering was experienced, and yes, the earth shook. A curtain that had once separated the Holy of Holies in the temple, the very resting place of God, was torn from top to bottom: the people could now be in the presence of God. Women wept, men were fearful for their lives, and the Son of God died hanging from a tree soaked in blood and sweat, burdened with the sins of the world.
Jesus was in such anguish, both physically and spiritually, that he cried out to God: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" These words, and what they represent, echo through eternity. God turned his back on his own Son, leaving him to die alone and cut off from the Creator.
And now we have something new. A covenant has been made for us, one that guarantees our salvation with nothing dependant on us. Hebrews 12 says this:
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church 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, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. - Hebrews 12:22-24
We have come to the perfect mountain. We have been given access to the presence of God. We have been given eternal Love. This mountain is the ultimate beauty. Through something terrible, something great has come. By the blood of Jesus, we have life.
Just as the magnificence of moutain ranges humbles me, so I am humbled by the beauty of Jesus's sacrifice on the cross. I think about the words of the Roman centurion there. "Surely this man was the Son of God!"
Yes. And he died so I could live.