Tuesday, May 7, 2013


the mountains glow reflecting the rays of the setting sun
-a view from my meditation garden-

I sat in my garden as the sun was setting and, as I looked up, the mountains behind me suddenly became iridescent, stunningly glowing in the brilliant rays of the setting sun. 

It only lasted a moment. I just caught a glimpse of the glow before it faded. But in that brief moment, I could barely take it in.

I've been thinking a lot about that glowing mountain. The Bible is full of rich metaphors that make use of mountaintops and glowing light. Mountaintop poetry describes an encounter with God's glory - an experience of the Holy Presence.

One of my favorite mountaintop stories is the one about Moses on top of Mount Sinai. The Hebrew People have been freed from slavery and Moses is supposed to lead them through the wilderness into the Promised Land, but he doesn't know the way.  So he seeks God's direction.  Moses goes to the mountaintop and there he meets "God."

On the mountain Moses encounters the bright rays of God's Divine Presence.  The Presence of God is so brilliant that Moses' entire face glows, reflecting the rays of the glory he encounters. In fact even when Moses comes down from the mountain, he is still glowing so brightly that he has to cover his face.

I love this story  about Moses glowing on the mountaintop because it is more than a historical account of a past event.  This story is a beautiful. powerful and poetic metaphor about the human experience of the "transcendent."

The transcendent  is that which is beyond the "finite"- that which is "more than me."  Whenever the human person experiences the brilliance of transcendence,  he/she glows in the reflection of the rays.

When my wife was pregnant with our boys, she literally "glowed"  throughout her pregnancy. She was filled with life that was more than her, beyond her - she was in touch with the transcendent.  When my son got married last October, as his bride walked down the aisle, she was "radiant " - not just pretty or beautiful - she was literally glowing with the delight of love.  

I believe that all the creation, everything and everyone, is permeated with the brilliant Presence of God. Everything and everyone in this finite world is connected to and is part of that which goes beyond this finite world.  

More often than not, in our everyday lives we wear a veil, shielding us from the brilliant rays of God's abiding presence.  But sometimes we can catch a glimpse of it all,  and when the veil is lifted, we reflect the brilliant rays and we "glow" - barely able to take it all in. 

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