No picture captures the grandeur and size of it. It dwarfs those standing in line for lift tickets, making them look like ants from the perspective of the top observation deck. Even the 605 foot Seattle Space Needle looks like a shrimpy cousin compared to the Eiffel Tower at 1,063 feet.
Standing under the Tower or on top of it renders its observer speechless. What can be said about something whose steel looks like Belgian lace?
But the Eiffel Tower is not the only thing that has such emotional power. Witnessing the birth of a baby or receiving a marriage proposal can turn emotions upside down with tears or laughter.
Some experiences challenge the status quo because they breach fixed walls of belief and crush assumptions. They expose things never seen before. Rivets and steel, assembled delicately to look as if it belongs in a lingerie drawer.
Or like reading a book whose ideas are so explosive they make the mind dizzy with thought. Or a poem so lyrical it seduces the reader over and over.
When Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to the site of what the Bible calls the Transfiguration, they had one of those speechless moments. Men who formerly thought they had Jesus figured out had no categories or experiences to explain what they had seen.
In an awkward moment Peter suggested building three monuments. What else can a speechless man say when an experience rises up in one’s mind like a thousand foot tower?
Several days before, Jesus told his disciples that some of them would not die before they had seen the Kingdom come with power. Maybe the Transfiguration was it – a kingdom coming down the road at you looking like a whirling dervish or a hurricane pregnant with moisture and wind.
It would be enough to leave you without words except maybe “everybody smile for the picture,” or “let’s build a monument.”