I’m not a big mountain climber, (well I am big, and I have climbed a few mountains) but I have climbed a mountain or two. I remember climbing Mount Saint Helens a few decades ago. I had some great climbing companions. Some of you in Kamiah will remember Lauren Kittle. He was a climbing companion along with his daughter, Saundra, several of our family, and Kari’s brother served as our guide. Eight of us climbed up that mountain together. We trained, planned, communicated, traveled together, suffered together and celebrated together. It was an amazing event!

We were all quite different. It is okay to be different. Lauren was 80 years old, Saundra was from California and not accustomed to high altitudes nor PNW attitudes. Jay and David were seasoned and experienced mountain climbers; both had climbed Mt. Rainer. The twins, Kari and Dana were just having one more adventure together and the 12-year-old Julia was breathing in the beauty of life. I was dragging my fat butt up an 8,366-foot volcano.

Climbing companions are important. You could climb some mountains by yourself, but the biggest ones are impossible as a solo climb.

Jesus had a group of climbing companions who climbed with Him the day He taught the Sermon on the Mount. It was those very same people who became Jesus’ disciples and forever changed our world. They heard Jesus talk about being humble, meek, people who suffer and mourn, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, being merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted and verbally attacked. These things happen sometimes. They are part of climbing. Climbing is good. The things that go with climbing are good too, even though it is painful at the time. We are a community. We love each other. We love advancing and climbing together. Sometimes the process is a little painful, but we will make it. Keep climbing. Don’t take things too personal. Keep climbing. You are not alone. We need each other. We are with you all and God is with us, too!

Kelly Lineberry is pastor of The Life Center in Kamiah.

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