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  • By Kate Silber, Nexus ICA Co-Founder
  • 2-minute read

Many of you will be aware of the poem that has been capturing hearts across the world; ‘The Hill We Climb’. It was written by Amanda Gorman, and read out at President Biden’s inauguration. There were many references throughout the poem to other sources, and a couple of those references appealed to fans of the musical ‘Hamilton’, of which my daughter is one. She clocked them straight away. Here’s one of the lines: “Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.”

I’ve only watched Hamilton once (and loved it) but unlike my daughter I don’t know all of the songs off by heart. She tells me it’s from the song ‘One Last Time’. That’s interesting isn’t it, because the scripture that the vine and fig tree line comes from is Micah 4 which begins: ‘In the last days….’ Well, you know Kate, that is interesting, but this blog is supposed to be about 500 words… yeah, OK.

Back to Hamilton.

Lin Manuel, the writer of Hamilton sent Amanda Gorman a message saying:

The right words in the right order can change the world, and you proved that yesterday with your brilliant piece. I’m so incredibly proud of you, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. You smashed it.

Lin Manuel (Hamilton) to Amanda Gorman

“The right words in the right order can change the world”…I couldn’t agree more. One of my favourite hill climbing poems is Psalm 24. I’ve always loved it, although I used to think it was poetic but unachievable. Verses 3 – 4 say:

‘Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart…’

OK stop right there. So.. no one? Then one day in a class at Nexus we realised together that this was not an elimination. It was an invitation (special thanks to Nexus ICA Alumnus, Ben Charles). It’s a beautiful exposition of those who have seen a tiny glimpse of the Almighty God and say to each other ‘hey. Whatever it takes, let’s make that climb.’ Those of us who want to be ‘the generation of those who seek Him’ (v6) will do anything to climb that mountain. ‘…the hill we climb if only we dare’ (Amanda Gorman)

Do we make our own hearts and hands clean? Of course not. We commit to the technology of repentance, we commit to the partnership God has so willingly offered us, we receive His grace, His mercy, His love, His strength. Every day.

Here’s how Gorman put it: “And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.”

Let me encourage you today to lift up your gaze and look to the One who stands before you, who holds all of this in His powerful hands (v 1 – 2). Dare to make that climb, even for one glimpse of His face. Dare to lift up your heads. Dare to allow the beauty of the redemption and restoration of God transform you.

Lift up your heads, you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.

Psalm 24:7

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