Today’s Reading: 2 Peter 1:16-21
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Peter saw the uncontainable majesty of the transfigured Christ while a voice boomed from heaven, but calls us to trust in the Bible found in nearly every motel dresser. The Church has an authenticity problem. We want the experience on the mountain, not the Book in the drawer. So we go looking for the former. Mostly we come up empty and wander into the sanctuary more or less because we know we’re supposed to, but we still have that mountaintop moment in our minds.
We even try to copy it. We transfigure ourselves. Realize that every single person sitting in the sanctuary is fighting a secret battle that you don’t get to see. Because we hide it. We change our faces, our clothes, and we pretend. We show up each week to a church that exists to forgive sinners and we pretend we’re just here to love God. We pretend we’re just fine. Authenticity? Nah.
You transfigure yourself to look better, but what you really need help with is all the stuff you’re trying to escape from. You hope to find that mountaintop where all of those things melt away, leaving you feeling close to God. . . but here’s the thing. Peter was there, too. He said there’s something more. You want to rely on the mountaintop, the experience, but then you miss the promise He speaks to you when your heart is broken no matter how much you fake a smile.
He calls us to trust the Word, not our feelings. The Word is for when nothing feels like it should. Even in darkness it shines like a lamp for you.
You can go looking for the mountaintop, but God won’t limit Himself to such a place. He wants to be where you’re completely overwhelmed and doing your very best to hide it. He wants to come down from the mountain to save. He climbs down and bears the Cross for sinners in order to save them. The Word promises that this Cross on a far less majestic hill was far more glorious. It promises life to you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Glimpsed and gone the revelation, They shall gain and keep its truth, Not by building on the mountain Any shrine or sacred booth, But by following the Savior Through the valley to the cross And by testing faith’s resilience Through betrayal, pain, and loss. (“Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory” LSB 416, st.2)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Discover new insights from each line of the Psalms in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer. Read, repeat, and return to the Lord as you walk through all 150 Psalms. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.