Spiritual Renewal is done. Dan and Denise Boone are driving back to Nashville. Jon Nicholas and the band are back in Warren. Our children’s workers are heading to Indiana for a wedding. Deb and Roy Pruitt who provided our wonderful free meals, hopefully have their feet up and are relaxing. Our facility crew are getting the rooms ready for Sunday School. And you and me? What’s next for you and me?
Maybe we can learn from the big spiritual event in the life of Jesus prior to the crucifixion. What happened on the Mount of Transfiguration was bigger than the feeding of 5,000 people and even raising Lazarus from the dead. If Moses (dead and buried for 1300 years) and Elijah (not dead but gone for 850 years) are hanging out with Jesus, then that qualifies as a really big deal. It’s spiritual renewal on steroids.
Peter, who had gone up on the mountain with Jesus, James and John and had a front row seat to the happenings, was wanting to build a retreat center and stay on the mountain forever. But Jesus doesn’t have time to answer Peter’s missing-the-point request. Instead, God Almighty made a booming declaration, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5). Bad English alert: Clearly, there ain’t much things bigger than that.
How does Jesus respond to this proclamation? He doesn’t flex his muscles or bask in the announcement. Instead, to the now-face-in-the-dirt disciples, he said, “Don’t be afraid,” and proceeded to head down the mountain.
What awaited them at the bottom of the mountain was as far removed as possible from what had taken place at the top. There Jesus was confronted with the gritty, life dilemma of a frazzled dad, his demonic son and the nine powerless disciples who had not been on the mountaintop with Jesus. Jesus went from Moses, Elijah, and a Booming Heavenly Voice to a kid full of the devil and lousy followers. Whew. Talk about a change of atmospheres.
Following Spiritual renewal week, maybe what you are facing (at work, school or home) is a change of atmosphere too. Your situation might seem as distant from our Spiritual Renewal “mountain top” as what was happening in Matthew 17. If you are going from a “Transfiguration mountain-top experience” to a gritty, messy home, work or school situation –what do you do? Or back to the original question: What’s next?
Let’s do what Jesus did. Jesus stepped off the mountain, walked into the mess and brought hope and peace. Let’s do what the song we learned in Vacation Bible School years ago told us to do. Let this “little light of mine” shine. It’s not to be hid under a bushel the song says. Neither should this little light of mine simply shine and enjoy the sunlight, where it makes no difference if it is shining or not (read: sitting around enjoying the glow of spiritual renewal or in Peter’s case, building a retreat center on the mountaintop). This little light of mine is meant to be taken into the darkness. It’s letting our little light shine into gloom, loneliness and busyness of this old world. It’s going and doing where Jesus would go.
What’s next after Spiritual renewal? It’s you and me following Jesus down the mountain and into our messy, needy world. It’s obeying God Almighty from the mountaintop, “Listen to him!” Additionally, James reminds us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). It’s letting our light brightly shine—that’s what’s next.