I have been thinking a lot about Everest lately, and its symbolism as the highest of loves. That got me looking at blogging sites for those who have an interest in climbing Everest.
It turns out the 2012 Everest climbing season had some colourful characters and inspiring stories that need to be told.
I was surprised to learn that 4 people died on the face of Everest that year. The ascent was limited to two brief windows of opportunity in mid and late May. Some seasoned Guides wisely pulled the plug on their clients very expensive dreams to make the summit, but of those remaining (200+), most took the first window, creating a traffic jam that caught some unprepared, running out of oxygen and energy, causing them to succumb to the seductive lure of a deathly, frozen sleep. As four souls quietly perished, hundreds of other climbers pressed on, walking past the dying, unstoppable in their own ambitious goal to reach the summit. Only one, a young jewish boy, confident to become the youngest person ever to climb Everest, sacrificed his dream for his fellow man, a reformed New York street person, who originally had wanted to carry his bike to the top. Nadav Ben-Yehuda, only 300 meter away from the summit, abandoned his climb and carried Aydin Irmak back down to base camp.
Read more about it here
Then I thought about it and I realised it’s true. Cold is the modern heart. Why? the answer is tied up in the Greek word anomia, meaning without God’s law, often translated “iniquity”, as it is in this verse in Matthew 24:12
and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will grow cold.
The word translated “love” is the Greek word “agape”, the mature, sacrificial kind of love. The kind of love that puts others before ourselves. The kind of love that Nadav displayed when he abandoned his own dreams to save another.
There is another scripture, 1 John 3:4, which says
..sin is anomia (lawlessness)
When society is ignorant of, or consciously abandons God’s laws, the result is cold love. Coldness brings hurt. Hurt leads to bitter sin and hatred, hatred breeds coldness and around we go again, cycle upon cycle, generation upon generation, till we arrive at where we are today. We have generations of sin and hurt and bitter hatred and pride parenting us, teaching us, overseeing us, marrying us… and hurt people do not allow themselves to love.
So how can we unravel this? Is it even possible? Is loving another like climbing Everest? Will our human frailty leave us cold and abandoned by her dangerous tempests? Will anyone rescue us when our most valiant attempts have failed? All I know is Everest has been scaled, and once that happened it became possible, and that inspired others to put themselves to the test. If Jesus is our Hillary, the Holy Spirit is Tenzing our guide, inspiring us to press on towards the summit of highest love.
I suppose the ultimate point of life is what road will you choose? Will you seek to overcome the ruts in your psyche and learn to love and then continue to love though the world grows cold and selfish? Will you adopt the laws of love shown by the teachings and example of Jesus as the one who perfectly fulfilled the law, though the powers that be considered him anomia (a law breaker). Will you forgive your enemies, pray for them and as a lamb led to the slaughter, silently bear their sin and murderous rage, blessing them while they seek to tear you apart? Will you accept the laws of love even the the whole world rejects them?
Hear Nadav speak.