In a faraway land laden with abundant peace and joy and cloaked in wondrous mystery, a fair city nestles serenely and securely among the foothills of a high and lofty mountain. This city is not unlike other cities that dot our azure planet. But there are some noticeable differences. For example, if you were to stand high on the lofty mountain overlooking the city you would see there are many one-way roads leading into the city and only one, one-way road leading out of the city. A curious sight, this strange city.
Also from the mountainside overlooking the city, observant travelers find their curiousity further piqued by the unusual shape of the city. The main portion of the city lies within a long, thin rectangle laid out at a right angle to the base of the mountain. The remaining portions of the city lie within two shorter rectangles equal in length butting the main portion of the city at right angles directly opposite one another at a point about three-fourths along its length, with the other one-fourth of its length nearest the mountain.
The thousands of one-way roads leading into the city originate at every farm, hamlet, village, town, city, metropolis, and megalopolis on the planet and enter the foothills city from it’s sides opposite the mountain. The single one-way road leading out of the city leads directly to the mountain. Many one-way roads leading into the city. One, one-way road leading out of the city to the high mountain. It is a mystery.
The roads leading into the city are not all roads; there are also lanes, and paths, and highways, and tracks, and turnpikes, and thoroughfares…in addition to the roads. Some are well-traveled. Some are scarcely traveled at all. But they are all one-way accesses into the city. Yes, that is unusual. But so is the city. So is the mountain. It is a mystery.
Long ago and once upon the fullness of time, the Son of God told his followers, “I am the way…. People reach my Father only through me.” The Son of God is the foothills city. There are many one-way roads leading to the city—to the Son of God. As many roads as there are people—millions of roads, even billions. And the Son of God draws all people to the city as a lodestone inexorably attracts iron filings unto itself. He once proclaimed: “I will draw all people unto myself!”
As time marches on and generation after generation of people are drawn gently toward the foothills city, they each perceive the city individually and uniquely, based upon their current location on their journey, their state of awareness, and their level of understanding. Travelers also see the city through the eyes of their own background and lifespan, their own society, their own culture and their own times. Yet, all are mysteriously and inexorably drawn toward the city—not against their wills, but sometimes they are not aware they are being drawn. It is a soft, gentle, imperceptible summoning; it is a light, feathery, indistinguishable breeze upon their backs guiding them toward the city. It is a mystery.
All see the city as bright and fair and welcoming. Somehow it is home—the home they left behind, yet a new home. As they stream toward this unusual city, they see it as a safe haven in which their life questions will be answered, their burdens lifted, their bondages broken, and all their needs met. They know there is healing and health for all travelers who arrive at this wondrous city. They know it is a city of refuge, a city of safety, a city of rest for the weary traveler. They know it is a good city to which they journey.
Some run toward the city. Others plod slowly. Still others are reluctant, but an insistent, inner urging compels them to continue their journey. Believing they may have found a better or faster way to the high mountain above the foothills city, some even take detours or veer off at junctions—only to find the detours and the new routes ultimately lead them back toward the city. It is so with each assumed new and better route. Travelers cannot bypass the city to get to the high mountain. Some travelers pause from time to time, questioning the journey. Some stop to rest. Some find distractions along the way. Still, they all continue to journey inexorably toward the city. It is a mystery.
Yes, the Son of God is the foothills city—and all people from all nations, all tribes, all ethnic groups, all times, and all places are being drawn toward the city. There is no one way by which people journey toward this city. There are many ways leading to the city. High ways. Low ways. Difficult ways. Lonely ways. Circuitous ways. Bright ways. Dark ways. Puzzling ways. Mysterious ways. Confusing ways. Questioning ways. Doubtful ways. Faithless ways. Faith-filled ways. But they all lead to the city. However, let it be known by all: once a traveler reaches the city, there is only one path out of the city to the high mountain. It is a mystery.
The high mountain is God. And all travelers must go through the foothills city to reach the one road leading to the high mountain. That road out of the city to the high mountain is a bright shining way, wending through fair vistas, lovely scenery, and unparalled and unprecedented wonders, joys, and delights. But the only way onto that road is through the city. Not around the city, not past the city, not over the city, not under the city, but only through the city.
Once through the foothills city, travelers to the high mountain know with absolute certainty they are on the right road to the greater, celestial city shining brightly from the mountain’s peak. There are no detours, junctions, sidetracks, or pitfalls on that road. The road leads directly to the high mountain. Upon their arrival and to their wonderment, each traveler discovers the celestial city on the mountain peak is the same city they passed through to reach the road leading up the mountain—yet, it is a far greater city to which they journey. Two cities, yet they are one. It is a mystery.
The celestial city on the mountaintop descended from God out of heavenly realms, yet it is part of God, part of the city nestled in the foothills, part of the high mountain. The city has no need of the sun or moon to light it, for God and the Son of God are its light. The entrance to the city never closes at night, for there is no night there. A pure, crystal-clear river of life flows out of the city, and on each side of the river grow unimaginable, ever-fruitful trees of life. The waters of the river and the fruit from the trees are strong and wondrous medicine to heal all people from all hurts, all wounds, all traumas, all injuries, all diseases, all infirmities, all disabilities, all self-imposed limitations. And wonder of wonders, they even heal from the dark enemy, death.
With increasing awe and growing wonderment, each traveler discovers they—and all others who have arrived safely home—together comprise the city. They, along with The Father and the Son, are the city. How can that be? It is a mystery. The foothills city, the lofty mountain, and the celestial city are all one. And the traveler arrived safely home is an essential part of the whole. It is a great mystery.
Moreover, the mountain and the shining city at its peak are not only the end of the journey, but also the beginning. Travelers discover at the end of their long journey they have arrived at where they started…and they know the place for the first time…and yet they have known it all through the journey and have merely arrived home where their journey originated. The end of the journey is merely the end of the beginning…and the beginning of the new beginning.
“In the beginning, God…”
Life Enrichment Services, Inc
Revised and updated December 2018