Up the mountain and down again!
It is indeed a very special reading today’s Gospel. It is a bright memory of a bright beaming day full of meaning, insight, and transfiguration.Look at the bulletin cover this morning, look at the beautiful image adorning the bulletin: a bright painting of Jesus in colors and light, on the m ountain with flickering flying doves and spiritual presence. With 3 disciples who lost their ability to speak and hardly dares to believe what they see and hear. And then the long-gone prophets visible in the light and the vision.
The Gospel today is something special. It is beautiful, it is bright, it is beaming, and it is hard to understand and believe.
I am sure that Peter, Jacob, and John, when they later were reminiscing the glorious days with Jesus, and all the wonderful, unbelievable things they experience, that this episode from the mountain, this would be one of the highlights. A day on the mountain. Something completely unforgettable.
“Do you remember? Do you remember that day in the house of Lazarus…? Do you remember that day when Jesus preached way up the mountain… do you remember that day when he gave bread and fish to thousands of people…? Do you remember that day when Jesus transfigured, changes before our very eyes and was beaming! Do you remember?”
That day, that transfiguration on the mountain top, far far away from the valley of life and all its problems, - that day was probably one of the best days in their lives. A stellar moment. Suddenly, everything was clear to them. They understood. They knew. They believed. And they loved.
I hope we all know or have experienced some of these stellar moments in our lives. Moments of pure joy, pure presence, and pure meaning. I remember one day, that truly was a stellar movement I my life. That day when I suddenly understand and felt to be part of something greater and more beautiful. A moment where life was as beautiful as it gets and I didn’t want it to stop.
Moments like that make time stop and expand the moment beyond time. Moments like that are strong, surprising, and fine – and they give us light, understanding, presence and meaning. WE might not exactly be able to explain what happened or why, but we feel it and know it to be true.
I remember that day very clearly. A day of transfiguration. It happened at the Hospital in Grindsted in DK. It was the lovely spring day in 1998 when Soren and I were to become parent for the first time. After a long marathon birth, after pain, fatigue, tears and gnashing of teeth, I saw Kristian. For the very first time. Laying close to my heart. And what a moment of transfiguration. What a moment of meaning, love, and presence. Never had I felt a stronger kind of love and a deeper joy. Never had I for sure known exactly who I was: I was a mom…… and never had I felt as blessed and loved.
It was a magic moment, as it was a magic moment in September 2000 when Mads was born. But is was a moment, a moment that I could not stay in. There was a reality waiting for me. A valley below the mountain of joy. There were diapers, nursing, sleep deprivation, crying baby, a proud dad and exited grandparents, and an endless row of ordinary days.
But that moment of complete happiness, understanding and presence and love, was just a moment. As it was that day for Peter, Jacob, and john on the mountain top. Afterwards they could talk about that something strange, something big, something divine happened with all that light, Gods voice booming through, and yet they could not exactly explain what had happened.
I brought this little wooden cone with me today. It is a beautiful piece of wood and art. And I like it best just like this. But you can separate it and then the fun part should be to reassemble it again! Well, that requires a lot of patience and logical thinking, which are not my primarily traits! Our boys easily do it, repeatedly… while I must try to remember from time to time and then all the parts end in a pile !
Sometimes we really want to know how things work. We pull them apart, we dissect them, and then we cannot put the pieces back together again.
Peter, Jacob, and John up the mountain remembered that moment for the rest of their lives: but they had a hard time explaining what happened. They could tell about the shining Jesus, the voice of God, the talking prophets, and the sense of fullness… but putting it all together was not easy.
That day it was God’s light that shone of the 3. They might not have been able to understand and explain, but they knew it was reel, they felt it and believed it.
In church today the same could happened to us. This too can be a moment of transfiguration, the words of God and light of God shines on us and we might feel brave, happy, and strong. That we are not alone, but part of something improved and more beautiful. We might feel like that when we celebrate baptism, like we did today. God speaks to us and blesses us. It moves us and strengthen us. It is difficult to understand and explain, but that doesn’t make it less real. And we might just want to stay in the moment and feeling. But the point of the Gospel today is that we are sent down the mountain, out of the church and into life again. We must go out again. Down again. Home again.
Jesus took peter and Jacob and John by the hand and lead them down the mountain again. Down they went. Down to the dusty roads of the valley. Down to the sick and lonely waiting for Jesus to come and touch them. Down to the other disciples who had lost their faith on their way. Down to the leaders who could not wait to get their hands-on Jesus and lead him away. Jesus did not choose to stay on the mountain in the light. He chose to go down the mountain and dwell among us. And he was being here ever since.
Loving stellar moments like today’s baptism, loving stellar moment like yesterdays moving memorial, loving stellar moment in our individual lives, they are moment of meaning and presence that gives us strength to live right here and now with struggles and problems, with a dustier view and with all the big small challenges of this wonderful life of ours. Amen