The other day I was watching a PBS special about mountain climbing, and while most of it didn’t engage me, I was captivated by a certain painting of men climbing the side of a mountain. Each man was standing on another person’s shoulders, like a living ladder, going higher and higher into heaven. The commenter said it symbolized all the lives lost throughout history in the pursuit of reaching the highest peaks of the world.
For some reason I kept thinking about this image, and how it relates to the Lord’s Bride – or the “Intimate Kingdom” as I’ve been calling it here. Like mountain climbers, she is a people with an unexplainable and insatiable desire for being closer to Christ, and where He is, no matter how high, dangerous or costly it is. Except that unlike the quest to reach a mountaintop, this is not a race to be the first to plant a flag! Nor is it trying to reach a spiritual pinnacle separate from others! Rather, what I saw was an intimate and accountable building-block structure of heavenly people built into, and upon each other for a unified purpose. Everyone is connected via His life, and it includes mothers, fathers, and older brothers and sisters in Christ who come before to encourage and carry on their shoulders those spiritually younger to reach higher heights, and more safely, than they themselves have or ever will.
Have you ever seen ants link themselves together? There are certain ones that do this to make living structures such as bridges, rafts, and towers. It’s amazing! (there are many YouTube videos about them). When I saw the painting of a human tower on T.V., I thought of the ants. They are such a stunning picture from creation of having a single mind and heart, and what it looks like when people become connected together in love via a revelation of Christ in each other for a purpose higher than themselves!
The Upside Down Kingdom
The most critical and foundational aspect to what I’m seeing in this “living ladder,” however, is what is at the bottom supporting the entire structure. It is Jesus Christ and His unique work on the Cross of loving us. It is His mind that is the mind of the whole, and probably nothing says it better than this passage:
Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who was in very nature God, but did not consider this to be something to use for His own advantage. He emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, in the likeness of man; and He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death – even to death on a cross. Phil. 2:5-8
It is this humility that is most striking about the Lord’s “Intimate Kingdom!” It is how He is building His Church. Each person operates with a restful confidence that when someone who is connected to them makes it to the top, they will effectively become a tower, or a bridge, for the world to see and experience Christ!
I pray that they may all be one, and united with us…
That the world may believe that you sent me… John 17:21
Unlike the tower of Babel which is a joint effort for corporate, temporal control, and leads to division, the Lord’s Kingdom is a joint effort for revealing Christ to the world, and is characterized by an unshakeable oneness and sense of eternal purpose.
“And the multitude of them that believed
were of one heart and of one soul.” Acts 4:32
“If the Lord can get but two of His children,
in whom His life is full and free,
to live on the basis of that life…
then He has an open way.”
~ T.Austin Sparks
For more, see “The Growth of the Church” by T. Austin Sparks