‘Mountain High, Valley Low’

Reading the first letter of Peter one is struck by the fact that after an initial exhilarating flurry of inspired writing we come hurtling back down to earth with a ‘thud’ with mundane instructions on how to behave and an entreaty to honour the emperor. A whole paragraph is given over to how a wife should behave and dress modestly etc. Our initial ‘high’ has now completely dissipated.

Paul’s writing often has the same effect doesn’t it? From the beauty and exhilaration of 1 Corinthians 13, to the rather flat and seemingly endless instructions to Timothy. The flurry of inspired writing can sometimes appear undermined by this type of instructional stuff which has been taken out of context over the years and used to control and subjugate people, especially women. A classic example being that many people don’t seem to know that Paul said we were all one in Christ, but they do appear to know all about him saying no woman should teach a man and slaves obeying their masters. Paul’s true position has been obscured by the fact that he was constantly having to deal with wayward people – they apparently needed detailed instructions to stop them falling by the wayside.

Notice Jesus himself avoided going into such detail; he simply told his disciples to ‘love one another’, or to others he might say, ‘Go and sin no more’, there was no elaboration on what that might mean in practice.

It’s an all too human experience though isn’t it? Moses comes down from the mountain, having been given those precious words from the Lord Himself, only to discover that the people have got a bit ‘bored’ waiting for him and decided to worship a golden calf instead! How utterly depressing. Moses’ excitement at sharing this sacred message with them now suddenly turns into a disappointment of the most awful kind; it’s a crushing blow. He loses his temper and breaks the tablets.

And this is exactly what it is like to be in the world – you can have the most exhilarating moment sharing the gospel with someone who is open and interested, and then return home to discover the fridge is broken, the cat’s been sick, and your children squabbling. Your good mood has now evaporated. But as Jesus said, we must take heart, he has overcome the world, and there will come a time when all this nonsense will be over and finished forever and then we will all be truly at one with each other in Christ; explanations and elaborate instructions will no longer be necessary!

One thought on “‘Mountain High, Valley Low’

  1. Well, yet again another blog worth thinking about. Yes, sometimes we do get overwhelmed by the day to day activities of life and perhaps don’t always have the time to delve into what Jesus was trying to convey to us in the scriptures. People seem distracted by the busyness of their lives and don’t have time to talk in any depth; the busyness creates a ‘bubble’ or a ‘barrier’ which means there is no time for proper spiritual discussion and is hard for people to escape from. And yes, even the scriptures can send us down unusual roads where if we are not careful we could quite easily be distracted and lose our focus on what really matters.


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