We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob's LadderOn Thursday of last week, my friend Joe Perez and I were hiking up Bear Canyon in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  It’s a beautiful hike, but the trail ascends almost vertically for 2,500 feet.  On the way up I caught myself singing that old spiritual, “We are climbing Jacob’s ladder.”  It’s got the perfect rhythm for a hike like that—slow and plodding—and the line about “every round goes higher, higher” is not only descriptive, it’s encouraging. 

We are climbing Jacob’s ladder,
We are climbing Jacob’s ladder,
We are climbing Jacob’s ladder,
Soldiers of the cross.

Every round goes higher, higher,
Every round goes higher, higher,
Every round goes higher, higher,
Soldiers of the cross.

I sang that much without any trouble, but then realized I didn’t know the next verse.  It was something about “Sinner do you _____ my Jesus,” but was it “love my Jesus” or “know my Jesus”?  I didn’t know, and it didn’t matter, so I began to sing, “Sinner do you know my Jesus,” and then I followed it with, “If you know him why not trust him,” and then, “If you trust him why not serve him.”  I found out later that those aren’t the real lyrics, but as I sang them I thought about how the Christian faith progresses from one level to the next.  You don’t begin by serving Jesus, you begin by hearing something about him.  If you hear enough you might get to know him, and if you get to know him you might begin to trust him.  

The Christian life goes on and on like that if we are faithful about it; every round goes higher, higher.  If we keep on climbing Jacob’s Ladder one day we will get to the top of it, and the view, like my view from the top of Hunter Peak that day, will be breathtaking.

Higher Ground

RainierJust after worship today I will head to the airport to catch a flight to Dallas, Texas.  I’ll be away for a week, backpacking in Guadalupe Mountains National Park with my friends Chuck Treadwell and Joe Perez.  Here’s a picture from another trip—Mount Rainier in the summer of 2005—just to give you an idea of why I do it.  Yes, I’m grizzled and footsore in this picture, but I’m sipping hot tea on the Wonderland Trail, with Mount Rainier looming over my left shoulder. 

It doesn’t get any better than that.