Leaving the Mountaintop

Growing up, I looked forward to youth camps. There was something about the environment that was electric. Maybe it was staying up late with friends, the fun activities, the amazing worship, but I always looked forward to going. It was a time where I felt closer to God. I guess one could say I was hooked on that spiritual high. Every year without fail, some emotionally manipulative speaker would give some devastating sermon that would leave all us impressionable teenagers in tears. We’d cry, ask forgiveness, sing a lot, have a group hug, and then look forward to doing it again next year. It was cathartic.

But something changed the summer of my junior year. It was during one of the emotional nights where people were spilling out their guts and we were talking about how much we loved each other when I had this thought, “After next year, I’m not going to have this again,” and I panicked. What would my spirituality be without my mountaintop moments? Did I have any real faith to begin with?

It’s tempting in the Christian walk to want to stay on the mountaintop. Pastor Matt discussed that temptation in last week’s while he preached on the account of the transfiguration of Christ found in Luke 9. In the narrative, Christ takes Peter, James, and John on mountain where he transforms before their eyes and meets with Moses and Elijah.

I think that tops an emotional speaker.

Apparently, Peter did as well because he suggests for all of them to pitch a tent and stay there. Peter did not want to leave the mountaintop. He knew that he was experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime event and didn’t want to leave.

But Christians are called to leave the mountaintop. We are called to bring others to Christ’s glory, which means going back to where we came from. That’s what I was beginning to realize that night at the youth camp, and that’s what Peter eventually realized as well. Real Christian faith is not extraordinary; it is mundane. It is living every ordinary day in obedience.

The moments when God reveals His glory to us are astounding. We of course want to linger there because his presence is overwhelming, and one day we will bask in his presence for eternity; but that day is not now. Now, our job is to go out and tell others about his glory, to lead others to the mountaintop. That is not always glamorous. It can be tedious and discouraging. It can be hard work and frustrating, but just like the apostles we are called to come down from the mountain and preach Christ to a needy word, looking forward to the day when we can linger on the mountaintop forever.

Matt Wireman