Thursday, February 23, 2017
The Radicalness of Just....Being; Matthew 17:1-9
Rev. George Miller
Date: Feb 26, 2017
Scripture: Matthew 17:1-9
If you haven’t noticed by now, the Bible has a thing about numbers.
40 days of rain; 40 years in the wilderness.
12 tribes of Israel; 12 disciples.
3 days of Jonah being in the belly of the fish; 3 days of Jesus being in the tomb.
So when today’s reading begins “6 days later,” our ears should perk up.
6 days later, which means something happened 6 days before, which means a total of 7 days has passed.
7. 7 days in a week; 7 days of Creation
7th day is the Sabbath; 7th day is holy.
Holy, which we learned 7 days ago, means special, separate, and sacred.
Because today’s story takes place on the 7th day, we can assume the author wants us to think of the Sabbath.
The Sabbath is time set aside to honor God; a day of no work, a day of rest.
The Sabbath- a sanctuary of time, a temple of time, a tent of time.
Within this shrine of time, Jesus goes for a walk up a high mountain; while there a supernatural experience takes place in which Moses and Elijah appear.
This is akin to Trump meeting Washington and Lincoln.
Or Carol Burnett meeting Lucille Ball and Mary Tyler Moore.
Or Chance the Rapper meeting Biggie Smalls and 2-Pac.
Moses- the greatest liberator of all time.
Elijah- the greatest prophet of all time.
They were the movers and shakers of the people.
Moses freed the slaves, faced their enemies, and received the 10 Commandments while on Mt. Horeb.
Elijah stopped the rains, challenged kings, and experienced the silent hush of the Still Speaking God while on a mountain.
Jesus healed the masses, confronted unjust leaders, and gave his inaugural speech while sitting upon a mountain.
What do these doers do? What do these mammoth men discuss? What trying tasks do they tackle?
This liberator, this prophet, this messiah?
…we have no idea…
We have no indication that there is anything they said. We have no indication that there is anything they did.
This Moses. This Elijah. This Jesus Christ.
They were just…there.
On a Sabbath day.
On a mountain way up high.
Jesus radiating like the sun.
How interesting that there is no conversation, no planning, no problem solving, no concerns for the tasks ahead, no mention of events before.
3 of our faith’s greatest leaders, and they just…are…
…and then Peter speaks because Peter thinks something should be done.
“Hey- it’s so good to be here let me interrupt this moment by offering to make something.”
This feels like the equivalent of taking a selfie; of posting something on Facebook because if it’s not commemorated by a photo it never happened.
If a task was not done, then the trip was not worthwhile.
That’s how we seem to live. Take a situation that’s meant to be special and add unneeded stress to it.
Take a moment that’s supposed to be ethereal and try to capture it with a photo or trinket.
I think of my own experience of trying to capture memories.
Of how the summer of 1992 was the best summer of my life, spending almost every day with my friends going to the beach, laying by the pool, working crazy hours at the restaurant, going out for ice cream on the north shore, going to the nightclubs on the south shore, singing to every song that came on the radio.
Not a single picture exists from that summer. Not one snap shot; not one tan line, not one dessert captured on film.
We were so blessed to be that there was no need to freeze a moment in time or create any unnecessary tasks.
Sometimes the most powerful thing we can do is nothing.
Sometimes the most responsible thing we can do is no thing at all.
Sometimes the best way to honor the Holy is to allow the special, separate, and sacred time to be special, separate, and sacred.
Look at Jesus.
6 days before, in chapter 18, Jesus broke the news to the disciples that he was going to die.
6 days before Jesus told Simon that he would have the keys to the kingdom and be responsible for loosing and bounding earthly and heavenly things.
For 6 days Jesus has been preparing his disciples for the unprecedented task he has at hand, letting the disciples know that if they follow him, they will suffer as well.
But on the 7th day, Jesus climbed a mountain with them. He became radiant like the sun. He stood amongst the ancestors…
…and we get to do the same today too.
We come into this sanctuary, entering into this holy space and this holy time.
Here, under the blue and yellow stained glass, we can temporarily let go of the 6 days before.
Here, in front of the altar, we can temporarily let go of the 6 days ahead.
Here, in the glow of the candles, we can let our light shine and our salt to season our sanctuary.
Here, in seats of red, we can delight in being beside all the other saints who are also sharing this same exact moment with us.
We don’t have to build, we don’t have to save, we don’t have to fear.
We can just…be.
And sometimes just being is the most radical, holy thing there is.
Holy adamah, filled with Living Waters, breathing in the Spirit of God.
Amen and amen.