Monday, March 15, 2010

Mountain Top Experience

I hope that we have all had a mountain top experience.

If not, I hope you will.

A mountaintop experience is one where you have the “A-Ha” moment. A moment when you feel filled with the Holy Spirit, fired up with the Lord, and feel a closeness to the Lord that you don’t always feel. You are so fired up that you think others must be able to see it in your face – as if your face is luminous like Moses or Jesus after they saw the Lord because you can’t imagine that lightness that is inside you can stay inside – others must see it!

Jesus literally had a mountain top experience.

Right after Jesus baptism, he goes to the holy mountain of Tibor with two of his closest disciples and there he meets the two greatest figures of the Old Testament – Moses and Elijah.

These are towering figures of the Old Testament.

Moses – the lawgiver, the man who led the Hebrew people out of their bondage in Egypt and forged a new nation – Moses is the dominant figure of the Old Testament. Centuries later, people still refer back to Moses as the model of moral leadership. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, to the current day, all reference Moses when they address something that is difficult and require leadership to achieve.

And Elijah – the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. The prophet who challenged the existing order to bring God’s people back from their sinful ways. The man who warned and oversaw a 3-year drought and famine. The man who challenged the priests of Baal and literally asked God to bring down fire from the sky – and God did! The man who God sent a chariot to bring up to heaven rather than die like normal men.

Moses and Elijah are the superstars of the Old Testament and they were conversing with Jesus.

The Hebrew audience would have immediately understood the message. Jesus was not just another guy who got baptized in the Jordan. Jesus was talking to these heavy weights because Jesus was a heavy weight.

And do you ever wonder what they talked about? I know it’s not polite to eavesdrop but haven’t you ever wondered?

No one really knows but we can safely conclude that it was not idle chatter. They weren’t talking about how cold the water was in the Jordan or how funny Peter looked with his mouth open.

There wasn’t time for that. Moses and Elijah and, of course, God knew the trials that Jesus was to face – this was why Jesus was sent. More than likely, Moses and Elijah were talking to Jesus about that and encouraging him to prepare him for this upcoming test. Wouldn’t you? If you knew that your friend’s son was about to go through a painful but necessary procedure, wouldn’t you want to warn him and encourage him? And this was just not a friend’s son – this was God’s Son, the Messiah, the one destined to save the world. No – idle chatter wouldn’t do.

And how else do we know that?

We can tell based on Jesus’ actions.

After this mountain top meeting – Jesus was a man with a mission. Peter wanted to make three tents for them on the mountain top. He wanted to stay and bask in the moment longer. Makes total sense - when we have our own mountaintop experience, we want to stay too! We don’t want the moment to end.

But what does Jesus do?

Jesus moves out. No time to hang out on the mountaintop anymore. He knows he is about to be tested in the desert by the devil, he knows that he is to die on the cross at Calvary, but he knows this is the only way. So, he is a man with a mission and he doesn’t have much time to do it.

He moves on out.

And that is the lesson for all of us about the mountaintop experience. We all need to be encouraged. We all need to take advantage of mountaintop experiences like retreats to renew our faith and recharge our spiritual batteries – but we can’t stay.

We refill ourselves with the Holy Spirit to take action. Jesus is inside us and that means that our hands are his hands. Our feet are his feet. And Jesus wants us to move out and take care of his children – our brothers and sisters on this earth.

Jesus wants us to feed his sheep – the poor, the homeless, those in prison – the people rejected by our society. The people that we reject and that we don’t want to have anything to do with – they have nothing; they may have contributed to their own condition by their addiction, their sin; they are dirty and they stink. They are the stranger in our church that are standing by themselves – that no one talks to. They are the drop off children who will only hear about God and Jesus from their RE teacher because their parents won’t talk about that at home. They are the ones outside our church who have been injured. Rather than think about a loving God who allows bad things to happen to them and to the ones they love – they would rather believe there is no God.

God wants us to take action. Get off the mountaintop and get to work!

Just like Jesus did for us.

Just like we must now do for him.

There are lots of people that need our help and friendship and love. The harvest is ready but the workers are few. Are you ready to work?

God wants you to get busy and get going. It’s going to be OK - he’s going with us.

1 comment:

  1. How did you know I needed this. Sometimes doing God's work is just plain hard. As one priest recently told me, "you just need to put your big girl panties on and get to work!" He wasn't demeaning me, just stating the obvious. This life wasn't meant to be easy, but it is meant to be filled with God's love. Sometimes that means me, slipping on those panties and being the lover of the difficult.