Scripture Reading: Luke 9:28-36
28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tabernacles, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he what saying. 34 As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.
We all have had mountaintop experiences—times when we have felt like we were on top of the world. Perhaps you had a mountaintop experience when your children were born... when you were married… or when you received a special blessing from God. Maybe you remember competing for the prize, that moment when you won that trophy, that plaque, that first place—you were on top of the world. Nothing could bring you down. Maybe your mountaintop experience occurred as you sat quietly in prayer —basking in the presence of God. Maybe God has brought you to a mountain top where you felt He was so close that you could almost reach out and touch him.
The mountain top experience for the three disciples was glorious. They wanted to stay… to stay and take in all that they had seen. All that they had heard. And many times we as Christians want that mountain top experience in our faith— in our lives… We want that glorious feeling of being with God. Some even demand it. And sadly others try to make those who do not have that experience feel guilty! We like the highs … we avoid the lows. Some feel that if their lives ... or the lives of those around them are not always glorious — something is wrong with their faith. As if there is something wrong with them if they are not on top. This theology of glory says that if you are not healthy, wealthy, feeling good because of Jesus then something is wrong, either with you or your faith. If you are with Jesus everything is good, great, glorious.
But that's not real life. And Jesus did not see it that way either
After the experience on the mountain, what did Jesus do? He went down the mountain and set his face toward Jerusalem. They came off the mountain, and they came right down to the bottom of the valley. They came off the mountaintop only to find a boy who was having epileptic seizures. The mother and father were enormously upset and worried about the desperately sick boy, and the little boy fell into a fire and burned himself.
In other words, the disciples came down off that mountaintop right into the problems of real life. Home from a mountaintop vacation and into the real world. And the disciples discovered that God is also down in the valley and does not live only or even primarily dwell on the mountaintop. Jesus understood the need for the mountain top, but the real work… is in the valleys.
On that hill called Calvary, Jesus felt and experienced the human condition in all of its brutality.
He knew the depth of suffering, of human suffering, of our suffering. He knew the guilt, the anguish, the despairs that comes with living life. He knew and felt it all on that cross and through the resurrection, he conquered it all for us.
Jesus went to the mountain to be transfigured, but came down the mountain to be a savior. He calls us to have a relationship with him, but then to come down into the human condition to minister to those around us with love and compassion.
We are surrounded by a great cloud, a throng of witnesses who are cheering us on. Who is in that crowd, watching us and cheering us on? They include those that have been faithful—Those that have already finished the race. Those that have learned from the moment on the mountain, to lay aside every weight, to take that moment on the mountaintop and use it to fill the valleys — to sustain us in real, everyday life!
Mountain top experiences are great, but living, working, helping, loving in the valleys are where Christ wants us to be.
You and I experience the valleys of life. You and I both know what happens the next day coming down from the mountain. It is the real world and the real life. After the Sundays of life, there are always Mondays. You know… the tough times. God is with us there too. His rivers of living waters are flowing from the Transfiguration above.
Let Him show Himself in the valley as well.