The Sandias: A Focal Point!

I can still remember that first breath-taking sunrise over 12 years ago as a new day was breaking beyond the Sandia Mountains. I stood spell-bound looking out east from the living room window of our daughter and son-in-law's apartment in Rio Rancho. I said to Melissa, "This is beyond beautiful! Look at that sunrise! Your picture window is just that... a picture of God's handy work in New Mexico!"

The Sandia Mountain range stretches throughout Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties some 17 miles north to south and is 8 miles wide east to west. It distinguishes the Albuquerque metropolitan area. This mountain is not only a beautiful focal point framing the eastern edge of the Albuquerque basin, it also represents a reference point for anyone wanting to learn how to drive around the entire area. New Mexicans of these parts know that as long as you can see "The Mountain" (as it is often simply described), you have some sense of what direction is east, north, south and west.
The Sandia Mountains of New Mexico!

Jesus regularly journeyed over two prominent mountains in Judea. He "went up to" Jerusalem for Temple worship (elevation of 2474') and the Lord also traveled over the Mount of Olives (2,710' elevation) on His way to spend time with close friends in Bethany.

The Mount Olivet Peak is part of the Judean Mountain Ridge that runs just east of the City of David across the Kidron Valley. These mountains are of modest elevations when compared to the Sandia Crest that rises over 10,678 at its highest elevation.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem's unbelief on the Mount of Olives and He ascended back to the Father from this same elevation. When I visited Jerusalem in 2011, we stood on the Mount of Olives for several minutes one morning in a light rain and looked back at Jerusalem. It was like a geographic theater in which the Temple Mount was on the "big screen" of our experience.

The Golden Gate is prominently in view along the eastern wall. This is one of the sealed gates in the Old City's wall. Some say that Jesus passed through this gate on Palm Sunday and others believe it will be the site of Christ's return at His Second Coming. The Mount of Olives has been a Jewish cemetery and a sacred place for over 3000 years. One thing for sure, from the vantage point of the Mount, the Holy City is framed. This offers a commanding view for tourists and those on spiritual pilgrimages.

Jesus Himself represents the ultimate and needed focal point for meaning and purpose in life. He said, "I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10b). When we live in the direction of His will and purpose, there is life, meaning and fulfillment! And when we don't? We can lose our way! The writer of Proverbs gives this advice to pilgrims of the faith who desire to keep their sense of direction - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.


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