Two Ways to Be Silent Before Majesty

Before 1980 the eastern face of Mount Everest had never been climbed. Then Andrew Harvard was asked by an American mountaineering group to survey the possibility. The July National Geographic records his findings and the subsequent five week climb in 1983. As usual I saw more of God in this story than the editors intended.

There are two ways to be silent before majesty: the silence of beauty and the silence of blindness.

Andrew Harvard wrote: “Nothing prepared me for that first unforgettable view. As I rounded a slope overlooking Tibet’s great Kangshung Glacier, I suddenly faced an immense mass of ice and rock thrusting toward the vault of the sky. For many moments I stood motionless at the majesty of the scene—the virtually unknown East Face of Mount Everest.”

I crave motionless moments like this before the majesty of God who carved Mount Everest with his penknife. “O Lord, open my eyes that I may behold majestic and wondrous things out of your word and your world. My people and I are starved for the silence of magnificent beauty. Feed us with vistas of your glory.”

But there is another kind of silence before majesty. The silence of blindness. There is a magnificent photograph of three mountain climbers trudging to the top of a 24,000 foot ridge with clouds below them and gigantic peaks around them. They are silent. But the caption says, “Oblivious of majesty around them, weary climbers trudge the steep slopes above the Buttress.”

This is the great and tragic silence of the Christian Church in the drudgery of “worship”. The silence of blindness before the majesty of a Mount Everest God. “O Lord, open our eyes! Help us as we enter the hour of worship to round some Tibetan slope of revelation and stand silent before the infinite Glacier of God.”

Rounding the corner with you,

Pastor John

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