Mark 9:2-9 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Why not just stay on the mountain top?
Congregational Responses:
Because ministry is down in the valley
We can only handle so much glory
Jesus’ always lowered himself
The mountain top is too isolated, removed

After labored breath and sweaty brow, above the treeline and below heaven, where the air is thin and the mystery is thick, they arrive at the summit.  And then Jesus, the megawatt Christ, explodes with radiance and defiles every darkness in the disciple’s fearful hearts.  Peter wants to linger in the light, take up residence in the moment. We all do.  But God loves us too much to let us stay in the same place.

In 1849, Henry Brown was a slave in Virginia.  He spend 18 of his 33 years of existence working the tobacco barns until he had had enough.  He built a box 3 feet long and 2 wide with an air hole and paid a white sympathizer $86 to mail himself north of the Mason-Dixon line.  After 27 hours in transit, on wagons and railroads, on steamboats and ferries, Henry was pryed open, delivered to Philadelphia a free man.
Why not just stay on the mountain top?
Because, while the mount of Transfiguration is always preferred, there’s no road to Jerusalem from up there.  Only the 40 day trip through the valley of crucifixion we call Lent.  And it begins on Wednesday with ashes on our foreheads and the claim of Christ on our hearts to carry the cross far enough to be freed from the slavery of sin and death.
There were only 3 people there with Jesus at the end in the Garden before the beginning at the empty tomb.  Peter, James and John, the disciples who first came down off the mountain.