Peter [said] to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good that we’re here. Let’s make three shrines—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” – Mark 9:5 (CEB)
Not to be confused with the fictional Klingon species in the Star Trek universe, these ancient biblical cling-ons are relatable, even across time and space. It’s tempting to allow the millennia between us to create a theatrical filter over the scene that unfolded on the mountain.
Taking a quick break from crowd work, Jesus retreated to a mountaintop with Peter, James, and John. Jesus most definitely would’ve been dusty and musty after extended periods on the road teaching and healing. Worthy of special effects, his dingy garb and appearance transformed into the sparkliest of brights. As if that wasn’t stunning enough, Elijah and Moses also appeared out of nowhere, chatting it up with Jesus.
Engulfed in awe, Peter offered to build shrines for the three holy ones in their midst. You don’t have to be a Trekkie to understand his desire to suspend the sacred transformation he witnessed. If only he could linger a little longer, perhaps even honor the moment…
From many a pulpit, we’re reminded that there’s work to be done back down the mountain. The world has an urgent need for our gifts. While that remains true, today I invite us instead to skip at least a beat. Give space for the awe to wash over us. Dawdle in those unexpectedly holy instances before beaming ourselves back into our labors. Create space for the divine in us to acknowledge the divine all around us.
We, too, could be transformed in subtle yet magnificent ways.
Enable us to cling onto those unexpectedly sacred moments that can transform and empower us, not just for the work ahead. Amen.
The Rev. Phiwa Langeni is the Ambassador for Innovation & Engagement of the United Church of Christ. They are also the Founder of Salus Center, the only LGBTQ resource and community center in Lansing, MI.