Scripture - Luke 9:33 - “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
Quote - Brene Brown - “Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.”
Peter, high on the mountain with a flashing, lightning like Jesus, wants to stay right there in that spot, in that moment. And who can blame him. Isn't that the whole point? Isn't that why he left everything, his job, his family, his security, even his honor behind? To experience the glory of God's presence and the security of God's reign? Now, having experienced it, why wouldn't he want to stay right therer in that moment and in that place, all his dreams realized and all his hopes secure?
This is one of the great challenges to the Church of Christ in America at the present moment. While we can certainly identify with Peter and understand his desire to stay, it is ultimately selfish. He has achieved his reward, experienced salvation, the wholeness of the presence of God. And for far too long large swaths of the church have presented the Christian faith as securing personal peace, personal happiness, personal salvation. But Peter isn't allowed to stay in that moment and that place. He has to go back down the mountain and back into the pain, the fear, and the uncertainty that is human existence. He has to go back down because he isn't called by Jesus, empowered by Jesus, given the gift of witnessing the future present in Jesus, just for himself. He is given all these things, so that he can share them with others and impart the healing and hope he has been given to those who need it most. We believe not just for ourselves, but to give others hope. We have faith not just for our own benefit, but so that our lives of courage and trust, of risk and sacrifice, benefit others. The flashing of Jesus is meant to continue to burst and radiate in our lives as a beacon to others.
Another great challenge of this verse and this story is the real and understandable desire to stay safe and secure. Why would we want to risk being unsettled. After all, we often feel unsettled as it is. If we have achieved some stability, some sense of peace, why risk it, why ruin it? We often prefer the unsettled even untenable nature of the present to the risk of change in pursuit of something new and better because, well because we know and are comfortable with the present. It may not be perfect, but we know how to navigate life this way. Or we have not experienced just how painful and stressful life can be for others. Why risk our own comfort for the suffering of another. We will look at this in greater depth tomorrow. For today we are left facing the challenge. The challenge of satisfaction and security. The challenge of this weeks story in which Jesus demands that his disciples willingly reject being settled in order to bring peace and hope to those whose lives are unsettled. The challenge that we not avoid discomfort, pain, and disturbance, for when we do, we are avoiding the place where God dwells and the people with whom God dwells.
Prayer - We are grateful for the many times throughout our lives when you have fulfilled your promise, Prince of Peace, to give us rest when we are weary and heavy laden. That you are a source of comfort and a shelter in a time of storm we are so thankful. But we know that there are many who know stress and need some rest, whose lives are storm without shelter; because of poverty, ethnicity, identity. Forgive us when we stay safely ensconced in your shelter. Remind us that we are shelter so that we can go out into the storms with the gift of love, mercy, and justice. Push us, when necessary from our settled spirituality into a faith in action, confident that we can always return for rest, renewal and healing.