“Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord it is good for us to be here. If you wish I will put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah'” Matthew 17:4 (NIV).
Being part of the inner circle has its perks, but on days like today I'd settle for the chance to forgo the hike. James, John and I dropped to the ground. Winded from the trek, it felt good to finally rest.
Unfamiliar voices caught my attention. There's no one here but us. Who's that talking with Master?
I blinked, then blinked again. The altitude must be playing tricks on me. Not one but three shining individuals stood just feet away engrossed in conversation. I squinted into the brilliant light and made out the form of Jesus. The other two were strangers.
I inched closer and strained to catch tidbits of their discussion. Moses! Elijah! Did I hear correctly? Unbelievable!
Overwhelmed with excitement I blurted out, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one....”
Before I could finished my sentence the atmosphere changed. Engulfed in an iridescent cloud a thundering voice spoke. Seized with terror the three of us hit the dirt.
“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Matthew 7:5 (NIV).
Glamping! Ever heard of it?
The newly minted catchphrase is a combination of glamor and camping. If an oxymoron can be a contraction of two words, glamping fits the bill. No devotee of roughing it, I'd need serious over-the-top luxurious accommodations to coax me away from a comfy bed in a climate controlled environment with cable or satellite TV. So, what constitutes glamping?
I first heard the term used in this scenario. Synonymous for high priced, ocean front properties, not all the residences in the Hamptons on Long Island, NY are McMansions. There are some normal homes also. Situated on beach front property is a modular home resort, a fancy name for an upscale trailer park! That's right, a trailer park in the Hamptons, hard to believe but true. The photos I've seen show a well kept facility. Some residents of the Hamptons have found a way to cash in on their home's location and still enjoy life by the beach. They sub-let their properties out for the season and glamp at the trailer park, I mean resort, and pocket a nice profit to compensate for any inconveniences.
Simon Peter wanted to glamp before the locals at the Hamptons thought it up. His version was glory camping. Can you blame him? A simple hike yielded an awesome spiritual encounter with Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Who'd want to leave a manifestation of glory like that?
Peter fell prey to the same snare the church has been tripping over for – forever. God moves in an unusual way. The assumption is made that this is it – the Holy Grail of God's interaction with men. Things begin bumpy, the forerunners and visionaries pay dearly for leading the charge. Those who spear-headed the last move of God usually fight the hardest to maintain the status quo. After all, in their estimation, they already have God's Final Design. Eventually God's new plan gains wider acceptance. By the time the majority adopt it God has moved on and the cycle starts again. The last pioneers now become the new persecutors.
Society today is more mobile than ever. People move cross towns, countries and continents for a job, retirement, education and so forth. When it comes to the things of God – well, “Gimme that ole time religion!” is our mantra. Something has to stay stable – doesn't it?
We're not pleasantly surprised when the God who is supposed to never change jams a stick in the spokes of our apple cart's wheels and upsets it. We can learn valuable lessons from the Israelites' wilderness camping excursion. How would you like to live out of a suitcase for forty years? At any moment the signal sounds and you're on the move – again. Where you're headed and the length of your journey is a mystery. How long you'll stay at the new location is an unknown. God isn't telling.
As soon as the church as a whole gets a grip on what God's doing and settles in for the long haul – it's too late. God's already packed His bags and moved on. It takes a while before we realize He's left us behind. How should we respond to His new direction? We can stay put, maybe even trash talk this new thing we don't like or understand or we can adopt a more inquisitive “what if” position. Instead of digging our heels in the sand of our comfortable, indisputably correct posture we could be like the Bereans. When faced with controversial issues, they endeavored to prove these items right and not wrong. Who knows, maybe glamping isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Photo - Google Images