levelling mountains

The Lectionary texts this week refer to Isaiah 40 and the message of John the Baptist in Mark 1.  There is a reference to levelling mountains – the great creation of evenness among people that is, in my opinion, at the heart of the kingdom of God teachings of the Scriptures and especially Jesus.

It reminded me however of the disturbing and rather different mountain levelling that is happening in the Appalachian Mountains in the United States.

The attached documentary covers what is happening and is, I believe, pertinent to our New Zealand context where there will be pressure to have open cast mining in some of our more remote and pristine landscapes because of the Pike River mining disaster of last year.


Achtung Baby lyrics by U2 that have stood out (to this preacher at least) Part 1

Theme #1: Life is for living – it is a foundational attitude I have  learned to allow, cultivate, and nurture.  It is, in my opinion, the fruit of ‘God with us.’

“I’m ready, I’m ready for what’s next
I’m ready to duck, I’m ready to dive
I’m ready to say ‘I’m glad to be alive’” Zoo Station

Theme #2: I don’t think that the Christian life is all that well served by those who skate lightly and don’t acknowledge that which they wrestle with deep inside.  It is not all joy, it is the way of truth!

“Let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind…” Romans 12

“Well, my heart is where it’s always been
My head is somewhere in between
Give me one last dance, we’ll slide down the surface of things.”
Even Better Than the Real Thing

Theme: I never said I was happy when Achtung Baby came out, just happy that it came out!  There is a lot of pain in the world of people.

“Did I ask too much
More than a lot
You gave me nothing
Now it’s all I got
You say love is a temple
Love a higher law
Love is a temple
Love the higher law
You ask me to enter but then you make me crawl.” One

Theme: There’s a Judas in all of us

“I took the money
I spiked your drink
You miss too much these days if you stop to think
You led me on with those innocent eyes
You know I love the element of surprise
In the garden I was playing the tart
I kissed your lips and broke your heart
You, you were acting like it was the end of the world.”  
And then:
“In my dream I was drowning my sorrows
But my sorrows, they learned to swim
Surrounding me, going down on me spilling over the brim
Waves of regret and waves of joy
I reached out for the one I tried to destroy
You, you said you’d wait
‘Til the end of the world.”  Until The End Of The World

Add on of interest: “The song was written at the same time as one of Ireland’s greatest poets, Brendan Kennelly, was writing his great ‘Book Of Judas,’ a series of poems about the betrayal of Christ. It was an epic coincidence, because I was given the poems to review after the album was  finished. The whole Zoo TV tour that followed owes much to one of Brendan Kennelly’s great lines: ‘the best way to serve the age is to betray it.’ That became our theme for the next couple years, to do everything U2 weren’t supposed to do. We had a deep-seated belief that the spirit of the band was true enough and strong enough and imperishable enough to not rely on an obvious guitar sounds or signatures to come through. It would come through anyways. It would come through a thick prison wall.” – Bono, U2 By U2 2006