I have to say that a mountaintop experience is a rare and wonderful moment in time that can only be relished for that time but is scarcely forgotten.
I loved seeing the Fretwell’s vacation to Massachusetts on Instagram when they climbed Mt. Sugarloaf with a view behind them that stretched for miles.
Grandfather Mountain in Linville NC is another view in the Blue Ridge Mountains that simply can’t be beat.
But my favorite by far is the view from the top of Pikes Peake in Colorado.
I know Rocky Mountain High has a completely different connotation these days, but when I was still in high school, Pikes Peake seemed to me; the perfect inspiration for John Denver’s Famous song.
I climbed that mountain when I was 15, and let me tell you, climbing a 14000 foot peak is brutal…
You can’t breathe; you get sick to your stomach easily, which keeps you from eating the food necessary to replace the calories you burn exponentially.
Even the flies are weary at that altitude, but as slow as they are, and as easy as it was to swat them, you didn’t dare; lest you wasted precious energy desperately needed to make it to the top of the mountain.
Once you get there, and the struggle is finally over…you simply can’t get enough of the view! Some suggested you could even see the next state from there.
You never want to leave…but after a time you have to, and that is why it is called a mountain top experience…not a way of life.
You don’t always get to be there, and you have to come down eventually, but you never lose the experience.
Whether through pictures or equipment you kept after the trip, you will always have reminders of being there and seeing; what a majority of people have never seen in person.
Today Peter James and John had their mountaintop experience and clearly, Peter did not want to leave!
Making three tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah; it seemed the best way, to Peter, to extend the experience.
While Peter has in mind the things of man, rather than the desires of God’s heart, I think we all get his enthusiasm.
After all; which one of us meeting our favorite movie actor, musical performer, professional athlete, or writer; would not want to hang out with them and ask them everything we ever wanted too?
In high school I had just such a chance run in, with Paula Abdul, at a hotel where a friend of mine worked. She was there for her Strait Up tour, and nobody else was there.
Here was my chance to politely introduce myself, tell her how much I admired her music, ask her what her favorite songs were to sing…and let her know that I was an eligible bachelor living right there in Englewood! Further proof of my attraction to adorable, shorter, brown eyed girls of course.
But be that as it may, the first thing I noticed after I came up to her, was the Magilla Gorilla sized body guard RIGHT next to her, and I simply watched her walk on by without saying a word.
We don’t always take advantage of celebrity encounters, so maybe, deep down, we admire Peter’s ability to think on his feet, and even though he likely spoke out of turn he certainly understood whom he was so near too.
Peter watched the scene unfold before him, thought it out over in his mind, and made his bold, albeit interruptive, exclamation!
Oh don’t get me wrong, he had no idea what he was really suggesting, but he definitely knew what he wanted, he wanted this mountaintop experience to last as long as it could.
I am sure all of you have had those experiences on the mountaintops of your lives that you likewise never wanted to end!
Like your Toddler children or grandchildren that told you they loved you for the first time!
Or that amazing day when you gave your daughter away or watched your son standing up at his wedding.
Or that special day when you were recognized by all your co-workers or fellow volunteers for all the hard work you put in, and a plaque was emblazoned with your name, permanently displayed, serving as a reminder to everyone in the organization.
But the time on the mountaintop does not last. The children grow up, they move out of the house, and your job goes on the next day like nothing ever happened.
And just like Peter we watch life unfold and cling to those mountaintop experiences like they are the most important things that ever happened in our lives.
As if we could somehow relive them and energize our lives with the joy and the glory of those moments; by somehow making them come back again…if only in our minds.
Sometimes we even dwell on them to the point of sinfully making them the only thing we ever care about, because life will never be good again unless we can somehow and in some way create yet another mountaintop experience.
Peter’s Mountaintop experience was about to end, but his eternal living was just beginning.
Just at the point when he put too much faith in a moment in time…our Heavenly Father spoke to him from the cloud…
“This is my son, my beloved one, listen to him”
It’s as if Yahweh was telling him today that the Law of Moses is good, the Prophecy of Elijah and all the prophets prophesied this savior but the time is now to recognize…this is The Savior Son of the World to whom you will listen!
An ever so slight, shift, in understanding is witnessed by and affirmed by all the ancient actors and Peter, James and John as well.
No longer would they seek counsel only from the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who monopolized the truth.
Now you would talk to God in the flesh and His words would be sacred, prophetic and encouraging for discouraging days that, for them, lay ahead.
After all we all have to come down from the mountain eventually.
But when they did come down, and when we come down too, now someone is coming down with us.
When we watch in fear as our children grow and go out into a Godless world full of animosity towards the truth of Christ…
…Jesus calls from the clouds of our confusion and reminds us, “Train up a child in the way in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
When our son’s and daughter’s hands slip out of our fingers grasp…
Through the tears of our joy at seeing them married but sensing they’ll never be ours again…
Jesus reminds us, that they are cleaving unto their spouse, and submitting to Christ who will never leave them or forsake them
And when the job goes back to the grind of day to day drudgery without end, God comforts us saying,
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
The day came when all hope was fulfilled where the world could not possibly fill it, and it came on a mountaintop we would never have to leave.
Jesus made another trip, to another mountain, by the name of Zion.
This time His cross was planted there, our sins were destroyed on it and our eternal Joy, Hope and Glory would live on in our hearts forever!
A mountaintop experience we participate in and remember every time we come to our little mountain here at Faith.
Where ever any of us are gathered in His Word and Sacrament we live out that mountaintop reality that we’ll never be separated from and never have want of again.
With all the saints and with the company of heaven on that mountaintop with us, it is an experience we’ll never worry about losing or have to stop living ever again.