on Last Epiphany
by the Rev Wanda Copeland
From the earliest times, humans
realized their view was broadened when they went up a summit
of some degree. The higher they climbed the more they could
see. When they were removed from the situation in which they
found themselves down below and viewed whence they had come,
they had much better perspective on all that was happening in
the valleys and lower places. The machinations of life were
clearly visible, whether in their individual dwelling and family,
or entire towns or settlements. There seemed to be a mystical
quality to be elevated above the norm of daily life.
Not surprisingly, they surmised
gods lived on mountains. And occasionally, humans even encountered
gods on mountains. From what we know and what we understand,
it is not hard for us to imagine gods dwelling on high mountains
where they can spy on humans and distribute punishment or rewards
as needed. It is an appropriate place for gods to live and where
we might experience the holy. Removed from the daily flurry
of activity, given the opportunity to observe ourselves and
others and reflect upon what we see, we feel even more like
gods when we climb peaks ourselves.
We have two such recountings
in today's lessons. In Exodus, the LORD called Moses up to Mount
Sinai to give Moses God's commandments for the people. In Matthew,
we read of Jesus' transfiguration upon the mountain. In
both stories, the characters discover the living God high upon
a mountain. The situations are awesome for Moses, Peter, James
and John. Not only is God in this high holy place, but they
have seen and experienced God there. When each comes down from
the mountain, they are transformed through their experience
of God in that place.
Experiencing God on a mountain
top is expected, and acceptable. But what if we were to experience
God in all places and in all times (not just on mountaintops)?
What if we sought after God in the swamps and bogs of the world?
What if we recognized God's presence in butterflies and stinkbugs?
Surely God is present on the high hills of our world. But if
God, the creator, is extant, is that same creator God not also
found in even the smallest microbe down here in the trenches
of our lives? Perhaps our call includes seeking God where he
will be found. If we are called in our Baptismal Covenant
to "seek and serve Christ in all persons," are we not
also called to discover the one who wills to be found in all
that our God has created?