Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
December 2nd, 2008

Susan Naatz

University Ministry
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My mother still chuckles when she tells the story about how she and my father took their eight, young Nebraska (born and bred) children by train to Colorado. Our family left Omaha around midnight and we woke up with the Rocky Mountains outside of our windows. My mother looked back at us and we were all kneeling on our train seats, faces planted against the windows. In complete silence we were enraptured with something we had only dreamed about…powerful, beautiful, purple-hued mountains.

I have never forgotten that moment and although I rarely have the opportunity to see mountains, they still have the same incredible power over me. When I stand in their presence I feel called to a deep and reverent silence.

A more recent mountain experience came in 2004 when I co-led a mission trip to Guatemala. As we flew into this third world country we were deeply touched by a beauty that was indescribable. The magnificent volcanoes and vistas were spectacular. As we descended however, our silence was about something else. We began to see the villages, roads, homes and buildings and were struck by the poverty which stood in stark contrast to the breathtaking beauty of their natural world.

When we landed we were welcomed with open arms. And although we tried to decline any special attention, we were showered with flowers, serenaded by the children, greeted by the town dignitaries and given the best they had to offer both in comfort and in nourishment.

During our trip we witnessed the Guatemalans tremendous respect and love for all people, community and family and it was beyond anything most of us had ever experienced. Although we were hoping to “help” them, these gentle, indigenous, Mayan people lavished us, in spite of their poverty, with profound riches which we had never encountered in our culture of plenty. During our group prayer times, we reflected over and over again about our own poverty as Americans who were accustomed to being surrounded by consumerism and individualism.

Today’s reading from Isaiah describes a vision of harmony and peace using a depiction of God’s holy mountain. It is one of the most beautiful and powerful readings in scripture and the reference to God’s holy mountain invites us to imagine a place which would remove all “harm or ruin” and where all living creatures of the world would find peace. We are invited to envision wolves being guests with lambs, lions eating hay like oxen and all humans and animals being led by children.

Our Guatemalan friends have invited us to see what it must be like on God’s holy mountain. Through their actions of hospitality guided by faith, community and care, they have helped us experience and dream about a world where all would live in love and harmony.

May we be called each day to find moments where we are co-creators with both God and others to have holy mountain moments. Let us hold in our hearts God’s message: “There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge…”

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