Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Come Down off the Mountain

Have you ever had a vacation or been on a retreat and found yourself not wanting to leave? Or had a dream so lovely you didn't want to wake up?  Or had a perfect night with your friends where everything felt like it was exactly as it was supposed to be?   When it starts to fade, you find yourself doing or saying really stupid things to make it stay the same.   Like, when we're all out of school, we should buy a piece of land and build houses on it for all of us.  With a big fire pit in the middle and a central building where we can have big dinners.. In Peter's case, he was going to build tents for Moses, Elijah and Jesus to live in on the mountain top.  I'm assuming he was just going to hang out around the camp.

Luke 9:28-3628 Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30 Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"-not knowing what he said. 34 While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 35 Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" 36 When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
I can tell you exactly why didn't tell anyone what they had seen.   I'm guessing that the first reason was that Jesus told them to shut up about it, and the second was that the questions would start immediately after they told anyone.  How did you know that it was Moses and Elijah?   Had you boys been drinking?   Smoking?   Have you ever heard voices from the sky before?  Did they tell you to hurt yourself or anyone else?

Legitimate questions that would spoil the whole experience for them.   Especially when they had to go back to their lives.   Their lives were different from ours, but compared to this, traveling around Judea with Jesus was actually a bit mundane.    They were still going to be following their master around, chasing away nosy kids, and doing crowd control.  Life was waiting for them out there.

It's waiting for us out there too.    The spiritual highs, the retreats and parties, the intense prayer experiences and the good dreams fade.   The memory is there, a sweet taste of what life could be, what it should be, what it will be, but it's not a place to build a dwelling.   Or three dwellings.  Or the village of the Cool People who Don't Suck.    Somewhere in the back of my mind I still want to building a compound, so don't be surprised if I do it after I hit the lottery and become an eccentric billionaire.   The real world beckons.  It wants our attention, needs our attention, and let's face it, it deserves our attention.

The amazing thing about Moses, Elijah, and Jesus making plans on a mountaintop and talking about what was coming up next was not that Moses, Elijah, and Jesus were having a conversation.  The amazing thing is that this happened on Earth and not in Heaven.    That Moses and Elijah, having shuffled loose the mortal coil, would set foot on that mountain on this sad old Earth.   Knowing things like this happen, and having experienced glimpses ourselves, we owe it to God and the world to usher in the Kingdom of God right here and now.  The world needs people who see beyond it.  People who see light at the end of the tunnel.   People who know that God really does love  us all and let that come out in their lives.  Every day.    Every day matters.   Whoever you are, you matter.  Your work matters, your life matters, what you do matters.

You may be the only person who smiles at someone all day.   You may be the one who says the right thing at the right time, the one who makes them pay attention to something they've never even heard of before that day, the only person who treated them like a person.  You're it, babe.   Whether you're flipping burgers, selling insurance, or managing the check out line at the grocery store, what you do MATTERS.

Act like it.

And don't build tents where the altitude is high and the air is so thin it messes with your head.

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