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When I heard this sermon delivered I was so impressed I then concluded that the thoughts expressed should be preserved.

The text of the sermon follows:


Jesus talked to His followers about faith that would move mountains. In His own daily life He lived by ascending mountains. He never waved a wand to remove some obstructing hill in order to make life easy. He faced life honestly and seriously and recognized there were mountains before Him and at times around Him. He climbed and from such vantage points saw in eternal perspective what could not have been seen so clearly in the valley. He surveyed life from the summits of mountains of faith. This day, we are reflecting on the life of a friend who faced the blockading effects of life's crags and peaks and climbed them to experience larger vision.


; A few years ago a friend and I set out to climb Mount Tamalpais in California. At the foothills the fog hung low and mists seemed to enshroud us. We met a hiker coming who had turned around when halfway up the mountain. "It's wet and you can't see anything," was his warning. We pushed on and at the top, the sun broke through and we saw in glorious perspective the plains and hills. Beyond was the ocean, symbolical of the great unknown. The sun lightened the scene with cheerful warmth. We stood in silence for a while. There is little to say in the greatness of earth's wonders. There were only two of us. We do not take large companies when we climb up mountains of faith. Often we have to go alone. Many times we have to go in faith that the sun will break through.

Once I went with a company of youth to climb Mount Manitou in Colorado. The hurrying crowd called out, "Who'll get there first?" They scampered away without looking to the right or to the left. On reaching the top they called out, "Who'll get down first?" How little they saw. How much they missed. Some of us walked a while and then looked out over the valley. Then at the top the glorious picture stretched out before us. We have to get up high enough to see life in its totality and in its relationships. Close up to Notre Dame, we may see only a gargoyle staring at us. At a distance we see the total historic cathedral in proportion and balance.


In the sunset years of Moses' life, he climbed Mount Pisgah and saw the promised land. He had given his life to a people who did not understand him. He had dedicated himself to taking his people toward the country that he would never enter. A man of smaller spiritual stature might have complained and given up. Not Moses. He saw with God. This is the simple story.

"And Moses went up from the plains of Moab, unto the mountains of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah. •

"And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan

"And the Lord said unto him, 'this is the land which I sware unto Abraham, and unto Jacob. *

* *

""I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go thither.'"

Here was faith of the first order. Moses saw his place in an outgoing purpose that was to last beyond his day. A measure of a man is that to which he devotes his life, for which he gives all he has. Little souls want comforts and awards at the immediate moment. Great souls give themselves to things that may not be realized in their lifetime. They believe the worthful will come to pass. They are happy in moving forward toward the goodly land.

The letter to the Hebrews refers to the roster of the faithful. It speaks of those who gave because they saw the distant scene that would never be their homeland.

"These all died in the faith, not having received the promises but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them." (Hebrews 11: 13.)


Once Sir John Adams used a term in a class on comparative education that has enriched my life. He spoke of "the Pisgah view." He urged us all to look at things from the mountain view. From this loftier height we would be able to see these ways:

(1) In relative importance. Sometimes we are too close to see relative worth. Life becomes as an archbishop of Cantebury told students of Oxford like a store window in which a prankster came in overnight and changed the price tags. We get our values confused. With clearer perspective some things fade into insignificance.

(2) In long-time perspective. We see things so often in a 5minute outlook. Reinhold Neibuhr, when accused of being pessimistic, told his friend that he would have a pessimism about the decades but a faith in the aeons.

(3) With the procession of explorers. From Mount Pisgah we see with prophetic spirits who have seen with God. Up here we sense with Flaubert that "the principle thing in this world is to keep one's soul aloft."


On the mountains of faith there are no timeclocks, no calendars. The eternal process and purpose move on. We see it moving on and on. We get into it and go forward. Recently I visited with a professional architect who had lost his eyesight. Day and night meant nothing to him. He was touching reality without these limitations. Still he was dreaming big things. He was climbing the mountains of faith. I say to such as he:

We live in deeds, not years,

In feelings, not in figures on the dial;

We count time by heartthrobs,

He lives most who thinks most,

Feels the noblest, acts the best.

Today I am not concerned about how long my friend lived in calendar years. I am not interested in recording mileage. Rather am I interested in what he saw when he climbed his Mount Pisgah.


Lives of courageous faith stir us to climb. Recently I read the story of Rick Fox, who went from Colorado to Baylor University. He was to study medicine. He was the top man of his class the first year. In his second year recurrent pains in his stomach sent him to the doctor. The man of medicine was honest. "Rick, I've got to give it to you straight. You have terminal cancer and you can't live." Rick's reply, "Let me have 30 minutes alone with God." He came back ready for the future. "Use me as a laboratory specimen. I will memo my reactions." To his classmates came this injunction, "Be a good doctor." He wanted to go home to his loved ones in the mountains. Sixty students lined the way to the airport as he was wheeled to the plane. The silver plane was lost in the clouds. Two days later he was gone. These medical students could never forget his word from his mountain of faith, "Be a good doctor."


Today I hold to the fore these expressions of hope and faith that showed up in the mountains of faith of STEVEN CARTER:

(1) The intent to achieve education and professional life. He was not born in wealth and served on silver platters. There were no rich relatives to put him forward in school. There was dogged determination to make his own way. And this he did.

(2) The facing of reality. He knew quite well his health hazard. He did not indulge in neurotic escapism. He did not moan, “Why did this have to happen to me?" He did not turn to complaining. He saw things squarely and honestly. With him I associate these lines of Longfellow:

"Fear not in a world like this

And thou shalt know ere long,

Know how sublime a thing it is

To suffer and be strong."

(3) The last mountain of faith. In the closing days when departing came nearer, the serenity of faith stood out. There was concern about what matters most in the family, in the political arena, in the personal commitment to God.


Out of my educational background I have come to think of death as a graduation day when we move on into the University of Eternity. Only those have right to eternity who find life so full, so short, so that an eternity is needed. For others eternity would be a monstrous boredom with nothing to do. STEVEN CARTER, just got well started in the business of living. With his questing spirit he should find the University of Eternity appealing. From Mount Pisgah he sees the great stretches of the promised land yet to be explored.

It has been said that those fear death who have lived poorly here and that those who wish death are those who have weakened here. The healthy man neither fears death nor desires death. He lives meaningfully each day and wants more time, but when the trumpet sounds that his present mountain-climbing is over, he stands confidently on Mount Pisgah, with God at his side and says, “It is well."


Today, let us climb our own mountains of faith. Here let us find release from the pressure of things of passing worth. Here let us see the wholeness of life. Here let us meet the God of Life as Moses did, and be assured of his concern for us. Here let us

dedicate ourselves to things that go beyond our time. We look ahead in hope that something we have done and are doing will be carrying our people on toward the land of promise.

In the quiet we hear what Moses said to Joshua. I hear STEVEN CARTER saying it to his sons:

"The Lord thy God will go before thee."

"Fear not, neither be discouraged."

And we hear what Moses said to his people:

"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath on the everlasting arms."

"As thy days, so shall thy strength be."

This day from the mountain of faith we hear God pointing us to the land to be, to the life we shall make come to pass, through our common endeavor with God's guidance. We hear Moses' watchward from Joshua as the heritage of STEVEN CARTER to us, “Be strong and of good courage."

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