“Look at the way it sparkles!” Issy, my favorite princess who happens to be three years old, told me as she showed me her fairy wand (or whatever the kids call it these days). Her fairy wand lights up when you shake it in the air to show how magical it is.
The disciples (only three of them) said almost the same when they encountered Jesus on the mountaintop at the Transfiguration, when God revealed Jesus as the Son of God to Peter, James, and John with the words spoken from the sky, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him! (Matt. 17:5)” Jesus’ face shone like the sun and his clothes bleached. He was sparkly, one could say.
In youth ministry, we often talk about “mountaintop experiences” – those youth events or happenings that led to deep connection with God. Oftentimes, those happen at camp, mission trips, and youth gatherings. These are moments that are set apart with the intention of deepening and strengthening faith. They seem magical because it’s hard to describe why or how they happen, other than to know that the Holy Spirit is active and working in mysterious ways.
After Jesus is revealed on the mountain, he instructs his three disciples not to tell anyone about their experience until after Jesus has been raised from the dead. The downside to mountaintop experiences is that they often stay on the mountaintop and don’t translate to their daily lives. Yet we live in the time after Jesus has been raised from the dead. So how can we tell the story of Jesus, God’s beloved Son?
Maybe it’s that you need a mountaintop experience. Why not try out Adult Forum on Sunday mornings? Why not travel to New Joy Lutheran Church on February 12th to wonder what a pilgrimage to West Virginia would look like? Why not start a new devotional practice? Don’t know what to do? Talk to Pastor Emily and she could recommend one.
Maybe you’ve had the experience and need to share it: help lead worship, tell it in our new “getting to know you” section, volunteer, invite a friend to worship, or tell a person how you’ve seen God at work in them. Transform the world because Jesus has been raised from the dead.