Monday, November 29, 2010

Monument Builders and Mountaintop Dwellers

We are a people who love to build monuments. We build them to remember important events and people. We also build them to honour ourselves. There is something in us that wants to create things that go beyond the moment, for others to share in an experience that does not belong to them but that we want them to feel part of. This is partly what Peter was doing when he offered to build shelters for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. They were all on a mountain when Jesus was transfigured, the three disciples saw part of his glory and they were joined by Moses and Elijah. What a moment to want to preserve.

Looking back I wonder if Moses had been tempted to stay up on the mountain when he had his encounter with God. How easy it would have been to just ignore the world waiting below. We have those moments in our churches. Perhaps yesterday was one of them. The worship seemed to be transfigured, the Spirit was so overwhelming it felt like Jesus was physically present, the Word seemed to explode with clarity. All your life and challenges were put in perspective and you broke down in tears of joy. It is a momentous pause in your life and you do not want to come down.

The thing is, the reality of this world is waiting at the base of the mountain. It was waiting there for Moses when he descended to discover a people who had already rebelled against God. It was waiting for Jesus as he descended to the crushing needs of humanity, inept disciples, and more effects of the enemy on God's children. I wonder what was waiting for you when you descended from the mountain, leaving the church yesterday or waking up today. I wonder how quickly the glory will fade from you as you face the stark reality of a sinful world bent on destroying itself. Maybe it's not all that bad. Maybe it's only a bowl of spilled cereal or missing socks. Maybe.

Regardless of what has met you at the base of your mountain, that is where God wants you to be, to serve him faithfully. Moses represented God's voice, his law, his direction for his people. Jesus is God himself, revealing his heart and the realities of his Kingdom to a lost world. We are representing the King as we allow him to glorify himself in us so that others will see him. We can't do that stuck up on some mountain, building monuments to remember an occasion that was meant to encourage us for the battle. The battle isn't on the mountain top, it's at the base.

I encourage you to hold on to whatever encouragement you received yesterday but don't try to live in that moment. I encourage you to enter this day with praises and thanksgiving but live in the reality of your service to the one you are praising. Don't be discouraged by the crush of the suffering humanity around you but instead be engaged with it as Jesus uses you to reach out to them. Don't be overwhelmed by the events of today but instead be encouraged that the same God who met with you yesterday, who touched you to encourage you, is still with you today and will touch you again and again. The monument that gets built is the one Jesus puts in our heart, that we take with us wherever we go. Jesus is that monument. He is our remembrance. He is our encouragement, our strength, our purpose, our hope, our pride, our celebration, our love. So whatever reality you are facing today, face it with the joy of the Lord. It's time to leave the mountain behind you.

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