Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them, His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (NKJV)
The kids and I were discussing this passage of scripture on Friday, and it struck me differently than at any other time that I’ve heard it. It’s that season again, as I was immediately reminded as I watched my neighbors, who rarely if ever get up for church on Sundays, rush to set up ladders for lights on houses, and post endless barrages of hoops, metal lit trees and blow-up Santas with elves. Traffic was a nightmare over the weekend as the most aggressive drivers fought to get to the malls. Even at church, our Youth Ministry director mailed us the “schedule for the month”, inclusive of the programs, the plays, and the parties and receptions. The good Lord knows we’ve been there in the past, with our kids involved in every program and my husband singing in the choir, and me just trying to avoid the sickness that inevitably comes after combining our ever-changing weather with ever-increasing fatigue. We’ve grown wiser in the last couple of years and have said NO to many opportunities to be busier, whether it’s ministry, someone else’s need to shop until they drop, or our own tendency to fill a slow day with endless errands.
I am comfortable with our decision, but I’ll confess that I do sometimes feel guilty when our friends at church ask why we aren’t as involved as others (our kids participate in the sign language program, my husband might sing, and that’s it!). While reflecting on this passage, I finally gained a peace about our decision that only the word of God can provide. Peter, James, and John witnessed something that not even the other disciples could testify to: they saw Jesus in his glory. He was transformed before their eyes, and He was awesome. Peter, in his excitement, wanted to act. He was well-intended, but then God came to beseech him and the others not to get busy with their hands, but instead to stop and worship Him, to hear Him, to fully listen to His words and embrace those words in their hearts.
I see so many “Peters” around me, and indeed I was Peter until a couple of years back. We get excited about Jesus, the reason for this season. As Christians, our hearts are in the right place, but our response is misguided. We want to act. We put on plays, we party, we rush to shop so that we can give, we program, we cook and invite, and before we know it, the season is gone and we’ve got nothing left in terms of energy and enthusiasm. The Lord speaks to us through this word just as He spoke to Peter: stop long enough to worship and adore. I write to you as I remind myself; there is nothing wrong with activity during this time, but be sure just to worship the Lord in His awesomeness. He’s been too good for any program to encapsulate, and certainly too merciful for any agenda to allow us to pass Him by. God bless you today.