Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

View across the Jordan from Mount Nebo, today (photo from

And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 34:1-5

Moses' life has been characterised by mountains, first seeing God in the burning bush on Mount Sinai, returning there (over several trips) to receive the Law, and later the instructions for creating the Tabernacle, and now finally being led to the top of Mount Nebo, to view the future, and to die. It is on the tops of mountain where the magnificent events occur, it is on the plains where the more mundane, trivial events of everyday life play out. The geography coincides with the emotional events of Moses' life, just as we describe good feelings as "up" and depressed ones as "down", giving location to our emotions.

It is notable then that this death (an event that so frequently causes dismay) takes place on a mountain, raising it to a place of magnificence, rather than one of lowness, or sadness. It is an attitude we can learn from today, living in fear of death as so many are today, striving to prolong life at any cost. Moses was in right relationship with God, which is why he was ready to leave this earth, and why his death becomes a celebration of all he had achieved, actualised by the view of the future God offers him.

What will I be looking upon when I am on my own deathbed, I wonder. I strive to be in right relationship with God while I am alive, that my death may be a simple, peaceful event, not a guilt-ridden, fearful one, raining a torrent of unfinished business upon those I leave behind, as so many deaths are wont to be.

Being in right relationship with God means to have God as the primary focus of my life, to be led by love, honour, integrity and kindness. To always look to do the next right thing, and when I hurt others in word or deed to promptly make amends. Right relationship is partnership, serving God as He serves me. When God, rather than self, is my focus, I can stand tall, mountainous, and view the beauty of a future without me. I have nothing to fear, and I can die according to the word of the Lord. Perhaps the purpose of one's entire life is to die in love, in peace, with dignity, to die in right relationship. For me, at least, it is an end to aspire to.

music Gymnopédie No.1 by Erik Satie, played by Daniel Varsano