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Rocky Mountain National Park

At Rocky Mountain National Park, rugged scenery is guaranteed. Meadows, forests, and lakes butt up against a backdrop of sheer cliffs and soaring peaks that dominate the Continental Divide. You’ll find some of the highest summits in the Lower 48 and the highest paved road in the United States.


Rocky Mountain National Park, photo from Daniel Susenbach

Mountains have a sense of the sacred about them. For many mountains have been described as a sort of thin place…a place where we as humans can go and encounter God. It’s not that we can’t encounter God wherever we are, but for many there is something special about being surrounded by the beauty and grandeur of the mountains.


Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that looking at the mountains forces us to look up, a reminder that we look up towards the heavens created by God. We even talk about having mountaintop experiences…those moments so great that we wish they would last forever.


Throughout scripture mountains are the place people go to meet God. Moses met God on Mount Sinai and received the law. Elijah even met God on a mountain, where when exhausted by life, God met him in silence with a nap and a snack. The city of Jerusalem is built on a mountain. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he even goes up the mountain to pray and he routinely teaches people from a mountain.


Mountains are also a place for visions and reality checks, for reflection and possibility.


Make no mistake, the journey up the mountain can be perilous. Even if you choose to drive to the top, rather than climb, you must be careful in the climb. You must focus your attention on where you are and what is immediately around you in order to reach your destination.


Upon reaching the summit, however, those details are exchanged for the distant horizon. The energy expended to reach the top is traded for deep breaths of exhilaration in what is revealed when nothing remains to obstruct your view. From here, you can see where you have been and where you might go next. This perspective allows you to see how things fit together, to identify why parts of the journey were difficult or easy.


The mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park offer plenty of such opportunities, but the truth is, we can’t stay on the mountaintop. Inspiration is meaningless without application.


Even the snow that falls in these heights will descend on water for life below. Some of the waters will be gathered as the Colorado River, and seven southwestern states and part of Mexico will benefit from its transformation as it pours itself out in the Gulf of California. Some of the water will gather into the Platte, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers, watering another eleven states.


What has been a recent mountain top experience in your life? How have you taken that experience down the mountain and applied it to your daily life?

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