Sixteen men on a crusade to climb to the roof of Africa. Each with a spiritual quest. It seems God has always brought men to mountaintop experiences. One came to leave a childhood trauma behind on the peak; another as a vow to a deceased friend; a third reflecting on his own mortality after a serious accident. . .
One by one with his own purpose climbing Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, the continent’s tallest peak and the world’s highest freestanding mountain at 19,341 feet. Although not a technical climb, the mountain is a tough challenge that attracts only the most adventurous and determined who are willing to brave the dangers of natural elements and high altitudes.
I have climbed Mt. Sinai in Moses’ steps to watch the sunrise, scaled Mount Rainier and almost lost a climber to a crevice, bicycle-raced the top of the Rockies. . .Reaching for new heights, always a’going, as adventurer Martin Johnson’s wife Osa said of him. Experiencing the world God gave us.
Mt. Kili rose like a single isolated island out of a surrounding sea of cloud. Setting sun tinging the glaciers. A spiritual experience—but not necessarily a unique one. I never expected to see God on the mountain; what I expected to see were the wonders of God. Wonders that do not always require climbing a mountain to experience.
Lift your head to the heavens at night. The universe is a wonder of God manifested in all its splendor and glory. Kneel over an ant hill and watch the ants—another wonder. That you can say I am, that you exist, is a wonder of God beyond full comprehension.
And the climb team in the twilight gathered in a primitive circle on lava stone to sing the old hymn, Amazing Grace.
“At certain stages in our lives, I think, God must put us together with special people in order that we can learn lessons from them. . .”