Can I Get a Witness?
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. – Matthew 17:1-2 (NRSV)
Not every mountaintop experience belongs to us. Sometimes we are called to witness someone else’s big moment.
Seeing a loved one cross the graduation stage after watching them struggle through school with dogged persistence. Listening to your bestie recount every minute of a magical first date after months of hearing the angst of a simmering crush. Cradling your sister’s perfect, squishy baby after holding her grief from miscarriages and invasive fertility treatments.
Eventually they have to come down the mountain. Another rejection from a hoped-for job makes them wonder if the degree was worth it. The honeymoon ends and the bestie asks how you know when to fight and when to walk away. The baby becomes a threenager and your sister questions all her parenting choices.
In those moments, you remind them of what you saw on the mountaintop. You tell the story of the transformation they have long since forgotten. You help them see the sparkle buried under the layers of sweat and tears and spit up. You tell them, again and again, that they are beloved.
Jesus didn’t go up the mountain alone. He took witnesses. He knew there would come a time when he would be criminalized, deserted, and left for dead. It was up to the witnesses to tell the mountaintop story, of a Savior who dazzled them and of the Son of God, who was beloved.
Dear God, from the valleys to the mountaintops, thank you for witnessing the story of our lives. Amen.
Liz Miller serves as the pastor of Edgewood United Church (UCC) in East Lansing, Michigan.