What does a Christian do with Mondays? This has long been a deep question of the soul for pastors and others ministers who have given their all in seeking to faithfully communicate the Gospel in a service of worship; who have unburdened their souls of the message that God has put upon them during the prior week. Yet, this question is equally poignant for any Christian who has tasted of the divine glories of Christ in Word, Sacrament and Prayer on the Lord’s Day, with the Lord’s people. You were “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,” but you are up to your eyeballs in what you feel is the mundane on Monday. How should we think Biblically about the issue of moving from Mountains to Mondays? May I direct us to one of the best places in God’s Word to get an answer: Mark 9 and the Transfiguration. There we read,
“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”’ For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him.’ And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only” (Mark 9.2-8 ESV).
To really get a Biblical reflection on our Monday morning blues condition, we best, also, read the following verse:
“And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them” (Mark 9.14).
Here is what I took away, as I battle my own Mountain-to-Monday-malaise:
- We need mountains. As sure as the Lord revealed the glory of Christ, the promised Redeemer who had been anticipated by Elijah and Moses and the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets, with the obvious intent of unveiling the transfigured glory of the Son of God to Peter, James, and John—those inner circle disciples—so, too, we need to see Christ lifted up and glorious in our lives. He comes to us and we are reminded of His exalted position as we hear the Word, put the emblems of our salvation—the bread and the cup—to our lips. We experience His presence and power in the assembly of the saints at our church meetings, or perhaps at a retreat. We need mountains.
- But we cannot live there. Peter didn’t know what to say, so he said something that got no divine traction: “Let’s do something!” Yet the impetuous apostle’s response was unremarkable. For the Father tells the disciples what to do, “This is My beloved Son; listen to Him.” Listen. Don’t build a monument to your experience. Listen, and learn Christ. And so what we find of God on Sundays we take away in our hearts, not to erect new programs or new campaigns (not those are bad), but we just listen. Mondays may be the best time to just “listen” to what we saw on Sundays. Listen for the voice of Jesus speaking to us on Mondays about the Word that came to us on Sundays. I have always felt that the best and most spiritual responses to the Word of God are not immediately after a message, when our ‘flesh,” as it were, may be responding to soaring rhetoric; but, rather, on the mundane stillness of the next day. We cannot live in revival meetings or retreats. But we can listen and learn and feed on Christ in our hearts by faith.
- There is a world in need. Verse 14 informs the text and provides a fitting response to any question of lingering on mountaintops. In the passages that follow, Jesus and the three disciples come down from the Mountain to witness a great crowd, but also religious leaders arguing with the people. The issue? A boy with an unclean spirit and a question about healing. Jesus said that faithlessness marked the entire scene. One is reminded of Moses coming down Sinai to discover his brother leading a faithless scene as well with a great crowd. But where Moses broke the tablets of the Law, Jesus broke through the boundaries of pain and sin and heartache and questioning and healed the child. There is so much work to be done.
Just remember, thought, before the mission, before the campaign, before undertaking seminary or Bible training or even preparing for next week’s sermon: we do need that Mountain. But we cannot live there. We belong down there where a world is in need of the healing Word of Christ.
Now. What will you do with your Monday?