Pastor’s Corner: False Peaks

April 14, 2021

One of my favorite things to do during “down time” is to walk in the woods, or by the sea, or on a mountain. These days I still like to have something of a goal in mind, but when I was younger, the usual destination was the top of a mountain. On my own two feet.

I hastily clarify that the tallest mountain I can remember hiking from bottom to top is just over 5,200 feet. That’s higher than the summit of Kilauea, but lower than the saddle between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. The mountains of my youth are older and more weathered, seamed by cracks in the stone.

Trails up those mountains may lead up a slope, then down a bit before ascending again. Often as I’d get toward the peak, I’d look up and see a rocky dome cut a clean edge across the sky above. “The summit!” I’d tell myself, and find that a few more steps revealed another rocky dome rising behind it. “Ah, that’s the summit!” I’d say, until I saw more rock beyond.

Hikers all know the phenomenon of “false peaks.” It is a nearly inevitable part of the quest. Nearly every mountain I’ve ever climbed has at least one false peak hiding its summit. Some have many such illusions along the trail.

False peaks are also a feature of other parts of human life. Spiritual insights may carry us higher, but in reality they are never the height to which we aspire, are they? There is always more to learn, more to know, more to grow in the life of faith.

False peaks are also a feature of a pandemic. The history of these events is strewn with “We’re done! It’s over!” moments – followed by a new wave of suffering and death.

Can we ignore the false peaks of faith and of COVID, and continue to reach for the sky?

With aloha,

Pastor Eric

Photo by Eric Anderson

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: , | Posted on April 14, 2021

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