I just loved this thread from Summer Kinard recently, about how what our world needs right now are “sea-level” saints. She says it much better than I ever could, but the idea is that as great as “up on the mountain” saints are, they’re not the ones physically in the trenches with our broken world.
So while the mountain saint is praying for all she’s worth, and enriching the world in that way, those of us down here on the flat land are close enough to reach out and touch people who are hurting. We are close enough be the physical presence of God to those who come into our paths, and maybe especially those who are so tired spiritually that all they can see right now is the physical.
I really appreciated Summer’s note that sea-level saints have to “find peace without silence.” Because in our house, for example, there is rarely silence, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have peace. (Do I crave the silence? Yes, I do. All the more reason I depend on God for my peace.)
Also, the lack of silence doesn’t mean we can’t be saints.
“Coming down from the mountain” is one of those images our team used often back in the days when we led retreats. The assumption was that we were sort of just down here mucking along until we could go back up, trying to hold on to the high of spending a weekend focused completely on our spirituality. The question was always, “How can we keep the mountain-ness with us after the retreat?”
I’m grateful to Summer for expressing so beautifully that the mountain isn’t the goal – Jesus is the goal, and he is not found only on the mountain tops. He is here, with us, walking the shore, talking to the fishermen…and the cashier at the grocery store, the elderly neighbor, and the guy in the line at the post office.
He is wherever someone is in need; he is everywhere that we reach out to that person in his name.