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On a recent day of warm sunshine, then mist, rain, sleet, thunder and lightning, back to sun, and followed by a miasma of midges, we celebrated a significant birthday for my wife by climbing Ben Nevis.
Next week, my eldest daughter and I will climb Ben Sgulaird for a last fix of the west before she heads for Aberdeen University.
So many of us climb mountains, sometimes with great risk. Through the exhilaration of achievement and the wonder of nature around, many people speak of a spiritual connection with mountains.
Is this really just 19th century Romanticism coming to the fore as we pose on a promontory like Caspar David Friedrich’s The Wanderer? You will know the picture.
Perhaps a clue to a deeper spirituality of space is found in the Biblical account of the Transfiguration – Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them.
Theologically, this tells us for the Kingdom of Heaven breaking through in Jesus. He makes the genuine link between heaven and earth, transforming perception and providing meaning to all that is, for us.
It is telling that this spiritual breakthrough took place on a mountain top. All of us, though, have to come back down. And mundane day to day stuff kicks in. Yet, faith endures, and it is reinforced whenever we turn our hearts towards heaven breaking through – and we do so whenever we raise up our brothers and sisters from the depths of the valley.
Rev Dugald Cameron, Kilmore and Oban