Tuesday, July 17, 2018

If You Build It, They Will Come

God is love. The Bible and Leonard say so, and they are right.

This is the story of Leonard Knight.

Leonard Knight's life had taken many directions. As of 1966, at 34, he wasn't entirely sure exactly where he had arrived.

Then one day, to get some space from his sister Irene's relentless prayer and talk of the Lord, he retreated to his car. In there, he found himself repeating The Sinner's Prayer, over and over and over. He was pulled into it inexorably, seemingly by a force outside himself. "Jesus, I'm a sinner. Please come onto my body and into my heart."

And then it came: the revelation. Leonard Knight had been transformed by the renewing of his mind. He asked, and it was given unto him.

After briefly seeking a place unsuccessfully inside the mainstream Christian community, Leonard retreated to the desert - for many more than forty days and forty nights. He tried to sew a hot air balloon stitched with The Sinner's Prayer, but it wouldn't fly. He tried to build a mountain, with his bare hands and found objects, proclaiming the love of God, but the County Board of Supervisors stopped the project. They said it violated the separation of church and state because it rested at the entrance of an abandoned military base which was now a public park. They went after it with claims that the soil was contaminated with toxic waste from years of government dumping.

But Leonard persisted. He had been transformed through the renewing of his mind. He saw nothing but the One Thing.

Leonard's vision by now was visible to others. People came from all around to see Leonard's growing masterwork, a veritable mountain of salvation. Petitions were mounted. Increasingly important folk advocated on public television. And Leonard's vision bore fruit: he had gone into the world and shared the good news to creation. Today, the result is more than a field of dreams. He built it, and still today they come.

Salvation Mountain is Leonard's song, the song God gave him to sing.

Was Henry David Thoreau right, that most men live lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them?

Maybe the more important question is, who among us is "most men"?

No two of us are really the same, are we? NO ONE is most men, not really.

Sure, we can try to generalize. But check the fingerprints. That means you get to be whoever God and you decide you will be. You can be quiet and desperate, or not. You choose. God lets you.

You can choose to choose Him, and He will unleash the song He wrote for you: raw, unvarnished, or impeccably refined, but in all cases viscerally you and incomprehensible to you at the same time. He will mine it from within you and it will bubble up like warm water from underground. He promised. Just ask.

You can also choose not to sing at all, or to make up your own song. Good luck with that.

Since this is my square, I get to say what seems to me. And it seems to me that most people go it alone, without His effervescence of holy inspiration, and are often cranky or sad. Or fussy. Or whatever you want to call it.

Even when we don't choose to go it alone, we spend most of our time trying to grab the wheel from Him and aiming it for the ditch. Good part is, if we have let Him in the car, He will guide it gently to the ditch for us, saving our hides, even if we are in the middle of a full blown tantrum. After which we complain mightily that He didn't deliver the car undented. And He keeps loving us anyway, because God is love. The Bible and Leonard say so, and they are right.

Dents are part of the ride, I'm afraid. That's how we learn to relinquish the wheel. Leonard knows this too.

I hope you will visit Leonard at You can see pictures of his mountain there, and find his physical address. He likes it when you visit, but if you write him, his friend Bob will answer, because Leonard will be busy building.

That's because building is the song God gave Leonard to sing, and he sings it very well.

Are you singing your song today? Is it bubbling up from your soul like magma from deep places? Share, please, and be blessed.

About the Writer

Sylvia Smith is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on If You Build It, They Will Come

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By Marcy Lynne on January 10, 2012 at 08:34 pm

I remember hearing about Leonard Knight and maybe seeing something on 60 Minutes? Or one of those shows. Anyway, this is just so exquisitely written. Thank you. I also read your other posts and visited your site. I am grateful to you for sharing your "song". You sing it so well. And I admit to being relieved at finding an intelligent, eloquent Christian to express what I cannot.

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