I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with mountains. As children, my parents often took us walking whilst on holiday. Scotland with all its moors, Munros and other mountains provided many an exhausting example. That said, I’ve always found them really spiritually engaging. Simply looking up at them, enjoying their sight from a distance, has never really done it for me. I’ve always yearned to press on, find the top and then just sit and gaze.
Early this March, as we enter Lent, I’m heading back to the mountains of Scotland around Loch Tay for 5 days. Just like Jesus did, I’m going to simply spend time walking, listening, reflecting and praying with my Heavenly Father.
In many ways, I often think it’s helpful to think of Lent as a journey too. Those six weeks from Ash Wednesday (26th Feb) leading up to Easter can be a really valuable time for personal reflection and preparation for hearts and minds as we journey with Christ towards the searing pain of the cross on Good Friday, before the transforming glory of resurrection Sunday.
March also traditionally marks the beginning of Spring, with its seasonal yearning for some much-needed deep cleaning, as dusters and hoovers are broken out to remove the hidden and overlooked dust and detritus of past seasons. It’s amazing the places and unseen corners that seem to attract debris, and as I get older (and as my children would say, ‘sadder’) I’ve truly discovered there’s little quite as cathartic as a trip to the recycling centre with another trailer load of jettisoned junk.
Lent then, I would suggest, can be, and perhaps should be, a time for a deep spiritual spring-clean. A time to linger and dare I say it, be willing to look into some hidden corners. To be prepared to journey a bit within ourselves and allow God to bring to light some of the stuff that it may now finally be time to let go of.
A real hero of mine, King David, prayed this exceptionally wise, yet vulnerable, prayer found in one of his Psalms. Maybe you can join him?
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
The Father longs for our lives to be clean and uncluttered, not so that we look like some gleaming trophies on his mantelpiece, but rather so that we’re truly free and unfettered. To ‘ascend the hill of the Lord, to stand in His holy place’ (psalm 24), to bask in the fresh abundance of his goodness and love, and embrace the vista from the mountain-top of his amazing grace. Now that, to me, really is a journey worth making.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Have a wonderful March, love Tim, Sarah, Ellie, Sam and Jo