"When the LORD descended upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, the LORD summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up." (Exodus 19:20)
It is no wonder that mountains hold such power in our imaginations and that our Hebrew ancestors held them in reverence and awe. They truly can be awe-some and awe-inspiring. Many passages of scripture warn against scaling the mountains to see the Lord, because it can be very dangerous. But there is something holy and sacred in the mountain spaces. It gives a perspective available in no other way.
Im and I are on spiritual retreat in the Himalaya Mountains, hiking and climbing (at 5500 meters/ 18,040 feet for fifteen days), and being continually reminded of the amazing creative power and imagination of God. Our God is God of earth and sky, of rock and forest, of sun and moon, snow and wind. Our God is an awesome God!
Such grandeur and spectacle is exciting on one hand, but very humbling on the other. I am reminded that our church is facing many hard decisions, but that the will and work of God is much greater than what any church goes through at any time. This keeps going through my mind: God is bigger.
God is bigger than our theological differences and disagreements. God is bigger than our conflicting and contradicting interpretations of scripture. God is bigger than the divergent cultural mores and moralities. God is bigger than our human penchant to continue to slice the body of Christ into smaller and smaller factions. And God is love. GREAT love. BIG love. GREAT BIG love.
I do not believe it is possible for we unenlightened human beings to fully grasp the height and breadth and width and depth of God’s love. Each of us encounters God’s love shaped by grace, mercy, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, kindness, and justice. And this – in its awesome and humble incompleteness is all we have to give to each other. And here is a miracle! One dram of God’s mercy, one iota of God’s grace, one smidge of God’s love is greater than the greatest mountain in creation.
Brothers and sisters, we worship a magnificent God. Is there anyone on earth we wouldn’t want to share God with? Truly? God is big enough for all; God’s love is big enough for all. Join me in praying that the whole world, the entire scope of God’s creation, may be exposed to the earthshaking power of God’s mercy, grace, and love.
Grace and Peace,
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).