Over the next two weeks Jen and I will be talking about transitions, and the call of God that seems to arrive when we are at life's switchbacks. When you climb to the top of a mountain, it is rarely wise to go straight up. It is far too steep. The shortest path between two points may be a straight line, but it is not the best way to climb a mountain. On a mountain trail, you need switchbacks.
Just this afternoon I rode to the top of the mountain at the end of Red Gulch Road in Lyons. It has about a 1,000-foot elevation gain, and there are eight switchbacks before you get to the top. A four-wheel drive Jeep might make it straight up without the switchbacks, but the rest of us won't. We need the more gradual ascent that the switchbacks provide.
One of my frequent hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park is to the 10,000-foot top of Deer Mountain. There are three major switchbacks on the three-mile route. I usually get to the top in about an hour, and I know how I am doing based on time I arrive at each of the switchbacks.
We need switchbacks in life. They are those times when we slow down, take stock of how we're doing, and rest for a moment on the journey. The switchbacks are milestones, and they are necessary. If we try to charge straight to the top of life, we'll run out of energy long before we arrive.
Maybe that was the problem with Sisyphus. He didn't know he needed switchbacks if he was gonna get that rock all the way to the top.
The spiritual life we travel together at Left Hand Church is filled with switchbacks, opportunities to wait for others to catch up, or to stop and consider from whence we have come, or just to take a minute and whisper a prayer for a friend on the journey. We want to travel together. Nobody cares about who gets to the top the fastest. This is not a race. It is a journey we are on together. We'll be happy to wait when you need us to do so, because we know you'll be more than happy to wait for us too.
And so it goes.
Your Pastor of Preaching and Worship