Mountains to Valleys
Jesus, Peter, James and John have a "transfiguring" experience on the mountain. It is one of those great, amazing, awesome, spiritual encounters with God that many people have. Peter, overwhelmed by the experience seeks to erect permanent monuments for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Whenever we want to turn a spiritual high into an idol of experience . . . there is God reminding us to get our eyes back on Jesus and his word ("listen to him!") rather than emotion and power of the experience. Mountain tops remind us of the awe and personal nature of God but they are not places to linger, nor are they places to return to. Each mountaintop experience helps move us from where we were to a new place and a deeper understanding of the nature and love of God. However, the point of the mountain top experience is to help us be transformed for the work that follows in the valley.
Afterwards, in the valley, we learn that the disciples have some growing up to do. They cannot bring help to a boy and his father. Jesus reminds them that "this kind can come out only through prayer" (Mk 9:29). In the context of the story, Jesus is telling his followers that the spiritual life is not a static experience. The spiritual life is a dynamic experience. The challenge is to discover where we are and to keep growing. Only after a lifetime of prayer -- that is a deepening, transforming, universe altering relationship with God will we be able to do all that God has called us to do. Prayer is not about asking God to do what we want. Prayer is communing with our Lord so that God can do what God wants through us. Prayer is becoming available to the power and presence of God -- not just for our sake but for the sake of the will, purpose and reign of God.
33-37 is part of this Sunday's message at Christ Church. Greatest, least, servant hood and leadership.