I could easily have missed it if I hadn’t stopped. I guess most of the people around me had just walked by or snapped a quick photo to note a waypoint on a journey to somewhere else. Again and again, I was struck on my Camino Frances pilgrimage by the fact we can be so intent on achieving a goal that we miss what is right there in front of us on the way. Many people I met appeared to be more concerned about completing a physical challenge than appreciating the sheer unbridled privilege of uninterrupted thinking, praying and worshipping on the journey.

It was after a particularly strenuous uphill yomp to keep up with an Irish gentleman, I was having a conversation with, that I bailed. (Full disclosure: I had a coffee, a cake and a long drink of water to recover.)

“Pay attention to your surroundings, allow God to speak”, I instructed myself as I hoisted my backpack on again.

There was yet more hill to climb so I did what I had been resisting all morning and checked my distance on Google Maps. That’s when I noticed where I was.

“Alto de El Perdón” : The Hill of Pardon, the mount of forgiveness.

I would not have known unless I had slowed down to read my surroundings.

There they were, pilgrims by the dozen, heading for their destination walking, unknowingly right past the place of pardon.

I think that makes the point.

    • How many folks slog through life unaware that there is a hill of forgiveness?
    • How often do I find myself stopping there on my journey?
    • How much of a signpost am I pointing out that Jesus is our place of pardon to my fellow humans?

So, this week in Hebrews 12 we are back in the hills with an invitation from God to pay attention, not to the obvious and palpable events and goals in life like Mount Sinai described in 12:18, but to the invisible, unshakable and eternal Mount Zion.

The true reality we are shown is a heavenly city teeming with angelic praise, filled with a bustling community of people transformed into their full and true selves, each known and named by God.

The writer to the Hebrews masterfully uses a past perfect tense here, translated as “you have come”, to assert that this glory has already been accomplished even though we have yet to fully attain and experience it. This is the Christian’s assured inheritance: a hope more solid and secure than anything we can see or touch in the world around us.

Even when the whole creation is shaken this promised gift is unshakable firm and steadfast.


“look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:18

Pay attention! who knows what the eyes of faith can see.