Climbing to the lower slopes as an exercise of learning

To sit-downs with the outdoor crowd

Trained and taught

About a way of living blessed with the contentment of sharing

Mourning in loss, peace-making in conflict,

Searching purity , righteousness, mercy and meekness,

Easily accepted in the beauties of the hillside

But soon discarded in the pressures of the plains.


Climbing higher to resist distraction

From the lesser ways and all that's not the best

Urged into prayer

Upward into thoughts lifted heavenward

Where concepts dawn in the mind

Winning over the once rejected

In the philosophy of inclusive love

That an evil schemer simply doesn't understand.


Climbing to the peaks for the wider views,

The panoramic paths to see the world

Glimpsed and longed for,

Awaiting the intended reclamation

Without the domination of imperial might,

Setting aside the possible bribes of compliant aid

Or submission to a foreign power,

But respect in a relationship of trust.


Climbing higher, above the quiet waters that could be Galilee

And the green pastures of the nearby fields,

Renewed, transfigured

From a soul burnt out by frustrations

Yet seeking restored radiance from the creator

Who places energy in a blade of grass

And transforms it by the gentlest chemistry

Into liberating strength once accepted.


Climbing, fully extended to the point of exhaustion,

Reviewing three years' work on a steep incline,

Collapsed and crucified

As though there's nothing left

But the silences of one's own emptiness

Compounding loneliness with the loss already grieved

Through the departure of loving companions

Tauntingly deepening despair.


Climbing to the summit in the completion of a life's ministry

Then leaving the most important, unfinished, to others,

Entrusting them by commission

To go and share the teaching with every group of people,

Baptising them with a name that makes them one,

Ensuring they're taught to experience

That latent freedom of the hillside

To be revealed explosively in a short ten days.


Climbing further into the misty clouds,

To the point of disappearance, yet permanently present

Ascended, gone.

Yet reigning majestically, as though victorious,

Still with us, known, experienced within,

Significantly here to the end of time,

Returning on completion of the transferred task,

The universally recognised master teacher - Lord of life.



1. Matt 5:1; 2. Luke 6:12; 3. Matt 4:8; 4  Mark 9:2; 5. John 19:17; 6. Matt 28:18; 7. Acts 1:7-11

June 2003


Written in Ringgenberg, Switzerland; begun on Ascension Day while walking above the Lake of Brienz, with thoughts of the conquest of Everest 50 years before, and recent conversations about world evangelization; then dedicated to Laura Dutton.