Thursday, February 11, 2010

Portable glory

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 9:28-43a

TO CHEW ON: “And they were all amazed at the majesty of God.” Luke 9:43a

“…the appearance of His (Jesus’) face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.” Ping! Haven’t we seen this somewhere before? Doesn’t this hearken us back to Moses and his shining face after being with God on Mount Sinai (yesterday’s devotion)?

It must have been quite the awesome yet disturbing experience for the disciples, being dazzled by incredible light while hearing Jesus talk about his “decease” – death – with the glorified patriarchs. It must have left them with an overwhelming sense of rightness, goodness and well-being. Otherwise why would Peter suggest they build tents and stay?

But when it was time, they left and headed back to the rough-and-tumble, grubby and confusing world below. The contrast was stark. The very next day from out of the crowd came a desperate man.

His sad tale of the disciples’ inability to cast a demon out of his little boy brought Jesus’ rebuke (even after all they had experienced, they were still ‘faithless') and an invitation to fetch the boy. Even as he came the demon threw him down in a convulsion. Then Jesus rebuked the dirty spirit, cast him out and at least one father and son went home that day knowing, at a see-and-touch level, the majesty of God.

We too know the contrast of this story. From times of ecstatic worship, when we’re in the very presence of God’s clean, holy light, we’re inevitably ejected back to earth with its broken-down cars, clamoring kids, aging parents, and sinister lab reports. Just as Jesus didn’t stay on the rarified mountaintop, neither can we. For that’s why Jesus came – to spread the majesty of God to all. And that’s still our mission today.

PRAYER: Dear God, may my times with You translate into stronger faith and more usefulness to my troubled world. Amen.

MORE: Oswald Chambers says:
“It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, but a man only gets there in order that afterwards he may get down among the devil-possessed and lift them up. We are not built for the mountains and the dawns and aesthetic affinities, those are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle. Spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mount. We feel we could talk like angels and live like angels, if only we could stay on the mount. The times of exaltation are exceptional, they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware lest our spiritual selfishness wants to make them the only time.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest (October 1 reading)

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