The preacher at my ordination service used the interelationship of mountain and plain to pull togther my chosen readings from Matt 25 and Matt 28. As I have pondered the readings from Exodus 24 and Matt 17 for 'Transfiguration Sunday' this relationship has come back to me.
Why go up the mountain? Precisely because you are going to come down again!
Moses must have been fit (as in healthy and able bodied) as he seems to have been up and down moutains quite a lot, despite his advancing years! He didn't go up them to see the sights or in search of some kind of personal spiritual 'high', he went to listen to God. And what God said was all about life on the plain.
Jesus and his cronies went up a high mountain, code for going to seek God's self revelation, and it happened. Never mind trying to demyhtologise or remytholgise or rationalise it all, Peter, James and John were left terrifed and needed a hug from Jesus (or a touch at any rate) to get them on their feet again. And the revelation? Listen to Jesus. That was it! Do what he says. And they came back down the mountain and nothing had changed - there was a crowd and someone seeking healing.
To me, this is an important reminder that Sunday worship is not an escape, nor yet seeking a spiritual high, rather, at least in part, it is coming apart to listen to what God is saying about the everyday.
My sermon will end with some sayings of Jesus as recorded in Matthew that I feel speak into the needs of the three congregations who will hear me speak, along with an invitation to 'listen to Jesus' before going back down the metaphorical mountain and into the world.
The service will end with BPW 201 It's good, Lord, to be here (J Armitage Robinson) the final verse of which says: -
It’s good Lord, to be here!
Yet we may not remain;
But since you bid us leave the mount
Come with us to the plain.
Next week we're in the wilderness and facing temptation and learning to see opportunities for growth and maturity...