molehills

The thought strikes me that in certain instances it may be entirely appropriate to make mountains out of molehills. Some molehills might be mountains in disguise, and mountains are not all bad. Mount Zion may be one example to consider.

To remove the disguise and see a molehill for the mountain it truly is would be akin to having a glimpse into the subtle complexities of a poet’s muse.

Take, for example, my recent rendezvous with a certain young man named Peyton.

About forty miles through the rolling, green hills and dense woods west of Nashville, Tennessee, off exit 172 of Interstate 40, you’ll come upon the village of Dickson. Follow the road north a few miles, past the truck stops and strip malls, the fast-food joints and Wal-Mart, to the auto-parts store on the corner of Walnut.

Take a left on Walnut and go through the old, residential part of Dickson to the second light at the intersection of Walnut and Center Avenue. Turn left on Center Avenue and drive past the aging homes under the archway created by elderly trees on either side of Center, and mark your odometer for a four-mile trip out into the countryside.

After four miles, and a series of three, tightly-wound “S” curves, you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for a tiny, white street sign with black letters behind the trees on the hill to your left which marks Mt. Sinai Road.

These roads are some of those narrow byways common throughout Tennessee, and the eastern U.S., which were most assuredly built, as my father used to say, by men who were chasing a snake. The woods are thick and the hills, dotted by trailer homes and lined by steep driveways to country estates, are a brightly-colored model for the best roller-coasters in the world.

Travel about half a mile along the narrow way of Mt. Sinai Road to a white-stone driveway just past the row of trees lined up perpendicular to the road like the wall around a fortified city, and park in front of that humble, red-brick building marked neither by sign or story.

You’ve arrived at The House of the Lord. That’s what they call it, and if you spend more than a few minutes inside its walls, you’ll discover the title is nearer to the mark than the humble appearance would seem to indicate; though not so much related to the building as to the people who will be joining you to worship there.

On this Sunday, as on most others, even the few seats found in the sanctuary will be far more than necessary for the number of people who have driven past a few hundred other churches to hold out for a couple of hours inside The House of the Lord.

In fact, at first blush, the little place and the little population may appear to be little more than a molehill.

Then the hugs will come from beneath the smiling faces of folks with heavy burdens, weary bodies, and over-sized hearts, welcoming you into the family and the warm fellowship. These are kick-off-your-shoes-and-stay-a-while people with little concern for the superficial and great concern for the subtle, looking into things unseen.

Mike, the pastor, a real gentleman with a slow-but-sure Texas lilt in his voice, will stand at the pulpit with his electric, hollow-body guitar, strumming a soothing tune, and invite you to pray, fervently and openly, for a few of the many needs of this world-wide family, and the blessing and direction of the ever-present Lord of Hosts, for whatever may come at his leading in the next couple of hours.

With enthusiasm and in unison, the gathering will launch into bold and engaging worship, singing homemade, heavenly choruses full of profound and sincere expressions of faith and passion, exalting and inviting the holy into the audible and visible.

Somewhere along the way, likely through both the audible and visible, you’ll notice a blond-headed cherub, named Peyton, clinging to the arms of Michelle, his grandmother, while his father, Deryk, runs the recording devices in the back.

Peyton was born on December 11th, just last year, the same day as my youngest daughter, Ayda. He represents the fourth generation of his family present in The House of the Lord.

There, among a people possessing the audacity to believe their tiny congregation is connected and contributing in meaningful ways to the transcendent and age-lasting plans of a very big, mountain-making God, Peyton appears to amount to little more than a molehill.

I can’t help thinking, as I reflect on a recent Sunday with Peyton in The House of the Lord, that at least occasionally, it may be entirely appropriate to make mountains out of molehills.

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