As a New Hampshire native, I am quite familiar with the White Mountains. My grandparents had a cottage on Province Lake, not far from Ossipee, that was a convenient starting point for trips through Pinkham Notch and Crawford Notch before the Kancamagus Highway was built. I even admit to the occasional unsanctioned field trip through the notches or climbing Mt. Monadnock with some of my high school buddies. Vermont boasts Smugglers Notch and the “Northeast Kingdom,” a term popularized 65 years ago by Gover-nor George Aiken during a political appearance in Lyndonville (home of one of my favorite breakfast stops, Miss Lyndon-ville Diner). The White Mountains and the Green Mountains offer a plethora of opportunities to experience beauty, recreation, wilderness and solitude.
Mount Chocorua (3,478 ft) is impressive with its rugged profile. Lincoln Gap Road demands that you put down your cell phone and pay attention to the hairpin turns and giant boulders that narrow the right of way.
When I flew over the Rockies my concept of a mountain range was redefined. Even viewed from 30,000 feet, they are impressive. A few years ago my wife Sharon and I went on the Gordon College European Seminar Alumni Tour. Two of the highlights for me were a gondola ride to Männlichen in Switzerland and hiking to Kleine Scheidegg in the early July snow under the shadow of the Eiger (13,025 ft). We were then rewarded with a piping hot bowl of goulash and some pommes frite in Wengen. Once again my respect for mountains was heightened.
I have seen mountains, I have skied, hiked, hunted, fished and photographed mountains. For the past 23 years I have been a member of the Board of Directors at our ABC/VNH mountaintop outreach, Loon Mountain Ministries. I think I know a mountain when I see a mountain. I’ve been to Jerusalem and I love Jerusalem, but if it were not for the Temple Mount and the Church of the Dormition, one would be hard pressed to identify Mount Zion. Even at 2,549 feet above sea level, surrounded by her sister hilltops, it is somewhat unimpressive. It doesn’t look like a mountain, even by New England standards. The Temple mount is located on top of Mount Moriah (the site of Araunah's threshing floor). It is located between the Kidron Valley and the Hinnon Valley. Jerusalem is nestled among seven small mountains; the Mount of Olives, Mount Scopus, Bethsaida, Mount Opel, Mount Zion (Zion also refers to the whole range), the hill on which the Antonia For-tress was built and Mount Ghareb (Calvary).
What makes Zion great is not its impressive size…it was the dwelling place of God’s presence in his temple. What makes Zion special is that God has chosen it, blessed it and surrounded it. Its strength is in God’s presence. Like David facing Goliath, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego lowered into the furnace, and like Daniel locked in the lion’s den, victory, courage and salvation came because God was in the mix. He surrounded them and they were not shaken.
We, too, are made significant by God’s dwelling in our hearts…our body is the temple of God, not the biggest, strongest or safest of temples, but chosen by God and transformed by Christ. Our power is in the promise of God’s presence, protection and permanence… No matter what… “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)
- James R. Smith
Bow Lake Free Will Baptist Church, Strafford, NH, and their interim pastor Jeff Robie
Second Baptist Church, Strafford, NH, and their interim pastor Robb Dix
The drug problem in our two states