At Ground Level

During this final week of Epiphany, we hope that you begin each day with this week’s daily reflection.

moses_veiled_faceAs Moses came down from the mountain in Exodus 34, he wasn’t aware that his face was shining.  I guess 40 days and 40 nights of being that close to God will do that to a guy. Can you imagine it? Spending nearly 6 weeks all up close and personal with the Creator of the universe? That mountaintop experience would have made any of us shine brightly.

The shining wasn’t exactly helpful, though. Apparently his face was so radiant that it scared his brother Aaron and the rest of the Israelites. They didn’t want to come anywhere near him.

But it wasn’t just a luminous face that Moses brought down from the mountain. The 2 stone tablets marking out the covenant between God and his people would transform a group of people into a holy nation.

The mountain had been glorious, but the real transformation happened at ground level.


The Transfiguration scene (Luke 9) on that mountain must have been even more dazzling than Moses’ face. There is Jesus, shining like a star, talking to 2 dead men and with the voice of God himself speaking blessing over him. It’s understandable that the 3 witnesses were so confused by such a scene.

In fact, they chose not to even speak to others about what they had seen there.

And when they came back down from the mountain, Jesus immediately heals a demon-possessed boy that the disciples could not help. Many people were filled with awe and belief.

The mountaintop was awesome, but once again it was ground level where revolution happens.


It seems like so much of the Christian life is spent looking for experiences on the mountaintop. We seek out the times that will dazzle and amaze us. We fight (A LOT) about worship and how to obtain these types of feelings. And to be certain, they are important. God wants to dazzle us.

But most of our lives are spent at ground level, not the mountaintop.

So it’s interesting that when God speaks over Jesus during the Transfiguration, his words mark out a course for us. “This is my Son, whom I have chosen. Listen to him.”

Listen to him. Because it’s not just about the amazement you feel now. It’s about what you do with it. Listen to him. Because most of your life is not lived here on the mountain. Listen to him. Because his words give life and joy and peace and meaning to everything around you.

The point of the Transfiguration was not some intense, personal spiritual experience. It was a vision of what eternal life and unimagined possibilities could look like.

And those things become real not on the mountain, but at ground level.

So today, as you deal with the muck and the mire – the daily routine and the seemingly average or mundane – may you recall the amazement you have felt at a God who can dazzle us. But may you also remember the words of Christ. And may his love and compassion transform the common into the eternal and significant.

Because you live at ground level. And that’s where true transformation happens.

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