Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Thoughts and questions to ponder as we prepare to celebrate Holy Eucharist together this Sunday:
- Do we allow God to lead our daily lives, or are we occupied with our own agendas and wills? Jesus took Peter, James, and John on an incredible pilgrimage up a high mountain. That’s pretty amazing if we stop to think about it long enough. Would we follow Jesus on the hike up the mountain, or would we provide any number of excuses/reasons for not going?
- We can’t always live our lives on fantastic mountaintop experiences with Jesus being transfigured before us as we revel in God’s nearer presence in nature. I have sermons to write and Vestry to prepare for. There are pastoral calls and more meetings than one can shake a stick at. Of course, you have your own work and personal lives, too. My spiritual director recently asked me, “What is God saying that you need?” I responded that I needed a vacation. How can we pause daily, and with even greater regularity, to see God transfigured before our very eyes, even in the midst of the mundane, the everyday activities of our lives? Are we capable of seeing Jesus in the dazzling white while folding our clean and dried laundry? Can we see moments of transfiguration as a newcomer emails to say that they want more information about knowing God through being part of our faith community? Can we see Jesus’ face shining like the sun as we look into our children’s eyes and drive them to their umpteenth practice of the month? Or maybe, are we capable of seeing God in the eyes of one going through the death process?
- Peter was often the mouthpiece, unafraid to say just what was on his mind. “Lord, it’s great to all be up here together. How about we make some tents to honor this time together and to stay up here a while longer?” The cloud comes and overshadows them, and the voice comes forth, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with Him I am well pleased; listen to Him.” How often do we allow ourselves to get sidetracked from listening for and to God in our lives? Moses and Elijah were great and highly regarded. Moses, the lawgiver, with Elijah, the prophet. But the attention, the focus needed to be on Jesus, and not on doctrine or what brand of bleach it took to get his alb the whitest, but rather, the focus needed to be on the kind of life Jesus led. Are we capable of looking at the kind of life Jesus led and seeking to emulate His love for the world? Do we realize that is the sort of Christian witness we are called to?
- “Get up, and don’t be afraid.” Christian living isn’t easy. Jesus was on his way down to Jerusalem where he would encounter his crucifixion. The disciples and each of us can get up, can cease being afraid, because we have hope through the God of the living. Jesus calls each of us out of our postures of fear into a posture of hope. Are we ready and willing to be a people of hope?
I hope to see many gathered for worship Sunday, and for those gathered together for worship, I hope we can focus on following Jesus toward self-giving. The music will be especially beautiful Sunday as we’ll have some jazz-infused selections, and our children’s choir will be singing the offertory. Go ahead and invite your friends to join us. And, welcome all of our newcomers we’ve been seeing in our pews. I can’t wait to celebrate God’s holy mysteries with you this Sunday. In the meantime, let us remember to love God and our neighbors.
In God’s Grace,