I remember driving home from a training weekend early in my Commissioned Pastor training on a high that I'm fairly certain could never be matched by a high from drugs. I was making new friends in ministry circles. I was learning things that were expanding my understanding. I was drawing closer to God through scripture and fellowship, worship and Communion. It was glorious. Like Peter, James, and John, I was present for holy moments that could not be fully described. There were no words in the English language capable of conveying to people who were not there in the moment what glory those moments held. I remember a song forming as I drove home on 255: "Just a few more minutes on the mountain, Lord, a little bit longer here with you. I know what waits in the valley, Lord, there's so much work for me to do! Just a few more minutes on the mountain, Lord, a little bit longer here with you. One more prayer and one more song, and one last look at the view."
I would imagine Peter was thinking similar thoughts when he suggested the tents. For the record, that's not a positive thing. ;) But it does give me a bit of an understanding of where the disciples were when they climbed the mount of Transfiguration. It's easy to get caught up in the moments of wonder, the splendor of holiness, the sheer joy of an experience of God in Christ. But, like Peter, if that is our only focus, we fail to acknowledge what God is doing. That moment of transfiguration when Elijah and Moses joined Jesus on the mountaintop was a moment of communal agreement. All the law and prophecies, represented by Moses and Elijah, were coming to fruition. God-with-us was facing the moment when all God's promises would be fulfilled, and Peter was worried about building tents, so he could stay and bask in the glory indefinitely.
Don't get me wrong: moments of sacred splendor that occur when Christ's presence is undeniably glorious are holy indeed. They provide glimpses into the wonder of Heaven ... the promises of eternity ... and that fuels us when we go down the mountain, but they aren't the norm. The norm for Jesus himself and for his disciples was the day in and day out ministry of healing and teaching and preaching and prayer.
I remember each of the moments when I met our children for the first time. These were sacred moments indeed. Moments when the veil was lifted, and Heaven could be glimpsed in all its wonder and glory. The miracle of birth and the unbelievable joy of sitting in that moment is a grace beyond measure. But parenthood is not that single moment. Parenthood is day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year attentiveness. It is a continual process in the muck and mud. There are many shining moments of joy and celebration, but there are also hours and hours of no sleep and dirty diapers, of fixing meals and doing laundry, of listening and learning and guiding and growing. It is communal, and it is exhausting, and it is so worth it, but oh ... it lasts well beyond that mountain-top moment when you open your eyes to see the glory of a miracle made manifest. We can't erect tents and stay in the hospital birthing room. We have to go home -- without an instruction manual -- and do our best to follow instincts that are guided by love.
God's voice coming from everywhere and nowhere at once saying, "This is my Son! This is the One I have chosen! Listen to Him!" (vs. 35, The VOICE) is the reminder that we cannot just gaze on the glory of Transfiguration, building tents in holy spaces and living there. We have to make our way back into the valley of day by day living sustained by that moment, but focused on the end-goal: the continuation of kin-dom work in the name of the One who has called us to it.
May it be so.
Julie participated in the 25th Seminar for Certified Zentangle(R) Teacher Training in June, 2019, trained by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. In addition to creating art as a personal spiritual practice, Julie also incorporates the Zentangle(R) method in Prayer Art Retreats in a variety of contexts, including church groups, friend gatherings, and at a local art gallery. Check out the Upcoming Events page for a calendar of events, or use the Contact Us page to inquire about scheduling an event with your group!
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