Monday, February 24, 2014

Come Down

Scripturally speaking, life is lived in the valley.  Sure, mountain tops are places, in the Bible, where people encounter the divine. It might be Moses going up a mountain to receive the tablets upon which are written the 10 Commandments.  It is the document, written in stone, describing the special relationship (the Covenant) between God and God’s people.  But the Commandments are not about living on mountain tops, they are about living in the valley:  they are about real life.

Jesus, along with a few companions, has a mountain top experience.  We call it the Transfiguration.  It’s wonderful, it’s amazing, and it’s brief.  Quickly, the heavenly vision disappears and Jesus and company find themselves back in the valley, back in real life.  Well, not so much real life as a horrific version of life, they encounter a man apparently possessed by a demon.

So, why the drop?  Why fall from such lofty heights smack-dab in the middle of someone else’s problem?  Because if the truth be known, God is not wasting God’s time by hanging around on mountain tops.  God lives in the valley with us.  That’s the point of the 10 Commandments.  These are the rules that govern our relationship with God and with one another.  These are the rules that govern how we are with one another – in the valley.

Just as importantly, the point is that God is with us no matter how awful life seems to be at times.  There is no trial we face in life that God does not face with us.  We are not alone, we are never alone.

It is good to seek the divine in mountain top experiences; to go on retreats; to visit the Holy Land; to worship together.  Part of the lesson of the Transfiguration is that it, like all mountain top experiences, comes quickly to an end and God is to be found in everyday life.

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