Summary: There are times in our lives when we are at the peak of joy when we do not want the moment to end. There are other times when we do not feel as though we will make to the journey’s end because of being on the verge of burning out.
COMING DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN
Text: Mark 9: 2-9
One of my favorite places in all of the United States is at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. Any one who has ever been to Lake Junaluska will know what I am talking about. Many ministers dream of having a retirement home there. It is indeed a beautiful place. Especially on the hill where the cross overlooks the lake at Lambirth Inn. At night the cross can be seen in its radiant beauty. It is a beacon of hope. One night many years ago when I was on a youth outing, some of us gathered at night for prayer at that cross. I did not want the moment to end.
There are times in our lives when we are at the peak of joy when we do not want the moment to end. There are other times when we do not feel as though we will make to the journey’s end because of being on the verge of burning out. In looking at the transfiguration of Christ, both sides of this coin are visible---the desire to stay there and the possibility of burning out before we get there.
THE JOURNEY UP THE MOUNTAIN
All of us have had at one time or another a goal or goals that we wanted to achieve. And all of us have also at one time or another wondered if we might burn out before we got to reach the goal or the goals that we set out to achieve. We see the summit---the high point of the goal or goals that we have been striving for and wonder if we will reach the journey’s end before our strength wanes. We get tired, weary and worn and try to press on in spite of our weariness.
“A young woman, eight months heavy with child, waddles into her mother’s house. Flops on the sofa. Kicks off her tennis shoes. Props her puffy feet on the coffee table. And groans, “I don’t think I can make it.”
Wise from the years, the mother picks up the photo album and sits beside her daughter. She opens the album to photos of her children in diapers and ankle high walking shoes. Slowly the two turn the memory filled pages. They smile at the kids blowing out candles and sitting in front of Christmas trees.
As the mother sees yesterday, the daughter sees tomorrow. …for just a moment the daughter is changed. … A transformation occurs. …” (Max Lucado. Eye Of The Storm . Dallas: Word Publishing, 1991, pp. 169-170).
John 16:21 says “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world” (NIV).
Sometimes we are like that, we focus on the long hard journey and get so burdened with the road ahead that we have almost forgotten some of the things that matter.
There are times in life when we want to stay in the rose garden of our accomplishments because we do not want to stop smelling the roses. We want the moment to last forever. One of those moments for me and my high school peers was on the night that we graduated from Broome High School in Spartanburg, SC, back in 1983. We tend to think about the blood, sweat and tears---the hard work it took to get where we wanted to go only to realize the reward. I can remember as a student in high school waiting and waiting and waiting for the moment to come when I would get to wear the cap and gown of graduation. That day finally came for me and my fellow classmates on June 3, 1983. There were some who got tired of the journey’s academic demands as they dropped out. The rest of us stuck it out to the end. Our moment came. Then all of a sudden it dawned on us, that this would be the very last time that we would all be assembled in one place possibly until a class reunion. When we realized that we had reached the summit of the mountain that we had been climbing all of our lives we wanted to stop. We wanted to freeze that moment in time and not let go of it. Yes, we got our reward, we got our diplomas but this would only mean the end of one climb and the beginning of another climb up a different mountain. That’s why many of us from the class of 83 wanted to make the moment last forever.
THE NEEDS OF THOSE IN THE VALLEYS
Saint Peter did not ever want to leave the mountain where Jesus was transfigured. Peter is telling Jesus that he never wants to leave when he said that he wanted to build three shelters. One for Moses who was the representative of the Law. One for Elijah who was the representative of the prophets. And one for Jesus who is the Messiah. Peter has missed the point.