for Luke 9:28-36 - The
Transfiguration Transfiguration Sunday - Experience the Mountaintop But
Don't Forget the Valley Below
Many of us have had them, those times when we
felt like we were on top of the world, really happy, confident that we knew all
the answers, could solve any problem that came up. Or we felt that we were
really close to God, really in tune with Godís plan for us. In those moments we
were excited and alive, and everything seemed new.
The moment might have come at some exciting event in your life: graduation,
baptism, your first kiss, your first day on your first job, your wedding, the
birth of a child, even catching your very first fish. It might have been
something really spiritual, like a week at church camp or a church retreat. Or
it might have been something of a smaller, quieter nature, like a very intimate
conversation with your father or mother when you felt that they honestly
understood what you were saying and why you felt the way you did.
We call these "mountaintop experiences," and oh how we hate to come down off
that mountain! We want to hang on to that moment for as long as we can. "Letís
just stay right here and let the rest of the world go by for a while." But to
freeze that one moment in time shuts off the possibility of the next moment.
In the Gospel reading for today we hear the writer of Matthew give his version
of the event which we call "The Transfiguration of Jesus." Mark and Luke also
contain an account of this strange occurrence, with some minor variations in the
telling. Itís one of those rare moments we were just talking about, one of those
mountaintop experiences of life, which somehow defy adequate description and
challenge us to stretch our concept of reality to the point that we usually wind
up asking the question, "Did this really happen?" Events such as the
Transfiguration somehow connect us with the mystery of creation and eternity.
For Jesus it was a time of confirmation and affirmation of his ministry. For
Peter, James, and John it was a brief glimpse of the transcendent, a peek at the
reality that lies just beyond everyday life.
But notice that Jesus quickly led the disciples back down off that mountaintop -
in spite of Peterís desire to pitch a tent and camp there for a long while.
Jesus led them back into the daily routine of teaching and preaching and caring
for the broken and hurting people of the world they lived in, back to the
reality of life in the valley...
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