There are two ways to reach the top of a mountain. One is to climb the mountain. The other is to be transported there, by helicopter, say.

The vista from the top in either case is the same, but that’s all the two experiences have in common. The most obvious and important difference is that the former is an accomplishment, and its view from the top the culmination of that accomplishment. It’s like the leaf that emerges from the effort of the tree, its own vitality and identity an outgrowth, its own meaning bound up with that of the living tree below. The stops and starts of the climb, the difficulties overcome, the moments of rest and contemplation, are all parts of the experience of looking out from the summit, as are even the contemplation/anticipation/dread of the climb back down.

Think of the journey towards God as an endless series of climbs to accomplish. The climbing itself is what gives vitality and identity and meaning to whatever you see or think or feel at the summits.

That’s why Jesus would not turn stones into bread.

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