Blessed… What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say

Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain.  He was transformed in front of them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus.  Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good that we’re here. If you want, I’ll make three shrines: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  While he was still speaking, look, a bright cloud overshadowed them. A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!”  Hearing this, the disciples fell on their faces, filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anybody about the vision until the Human One is raised from the dead.” The disciples asked, “Then why do the legal experts say that Elijah must first come?” Jesus responded, “Elijah does come first and will restore all things.  In fact, I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they didn’t know him. But they did to him whatever they wanted. In the same way the Human One[b] is also going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples realized he was telling them about John the Baptist (Matthew 17:1-13, Common English Bible).

Just about all of us have had those moments when you just don’t know what to say in a given situation. It might be that someone has shocked us with some news that has left us speechless. It might be that someone does something unbelievable and we are dumbfounded. It might even be that we are just out of things to say.

Peter, James and John found themselves in the situation where someone did something unbelievable. In this case it was Jesus. First of all, his clothes became dazzling white. Do you remember the commercials for various bleach products who talk about how white they make your laundry? Yeah, they only wish. The Scripture says it was brighter than any bleach could make them.

That was followed up by another amazing event, two guys showed up that had been dead for centuries, Moses and Elijah. I am not sure how James, John and Peter knew who these two were. After all, the digital camera was still many centuries away! However they knew it, they did know.

Imagine yourself in the place of these three. If we are living the story, it would probably be a speechless moment. How do you explain something that can’t be explainable? Some of us are a lot like Peter in this story. We might not know what to say, but we would give it a shot.

Peter’s answer to “what to say when you don’t know what to say” was, “Lord it is a good thing we are here. Let us build to shrines (shelters, tabernacles, memorials, dwellings, booths, places), one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

For his part, Jesus doesn’t respond to Peter’s idea. After God instructs the three that Jesus is His beloved Son and that they should listen to him, Jesus took them down from the mountain.

Jesus’ lack of a response gives me an idea of what we should say when we don’t know what to say and I am one who really needs to learn from that. I find that I am far too much like Peter. I want to say something, even when I don’t know what to say.

I have learned in the past few years that silence is important. We need the time and the quiet if we want to hear the voice of God. That just might mean, when we don’t know what to say, it could be a clue to say nothing at all.

What do you say when you don’t know what to say?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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