Sunday, March 8, 2009
"He had said this in plain words. Peter took him away from the others and began to speak sharp words to him. Jesus turned around." Mark 8:32-33
Today, or early this morning rather, is the day of turning clocks forward an hour, losing an hour of sleep, an automatic, scheduled move towards spring and more daylight. Daylight Savings Time signals a new season and alerts us to a new way of being in the world. It also can be very upsetting to the rhythms of daily life. When my girls were small it would throw their sleep schedules for a loop. The transition always took several weeks, and it was hard on parents with children who didn't cooperate in the sleep department in the first place. It's truly wonderful to have more light. We can see things more plainly longer in the day. We can feel spring and new life right around the bend. And the transition, the living into a changed reality, can be awful for many. This mechanical devise, this human control of time, this changing the hours of daylight is insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But living day to day, small changes can upset the whole routine, throwing off all sorts of barely balanced structures and families.
Jesus is speaking plain words, telling them about his impending death and resurrection, and how that is going to change the world. Peter is having none of it. Life is already complicated enough as far as he is concerned. This ultimately wonderful gift to humanity is more than he can bear. He scolds Jesus. He is angry and hurt. He can't bear any more changes. Jesus turns away from Peter and tells him his thoughts are not from God. Of course they are not. They are the words of an exhausted child who cannot take one more shift in his universe. He speak from his honest broken heart. Although Jesus reprimands Peter in this scene, Jesus goes on to take Peter with him up the mountain. Peter witnesses the transfiguration, Peter sees what is possible and what is to come. He understands in a new way the Savior in his midst. He caught a glimpse of the glory of Jesus. But not before he owned up to the pain of change and turning.
Today, I want to acknowledge the challenge and complexity of change. Even good change, like more daylight, can fracture an already fractured universe. We are all like children when people upset our world - we cry out, "no, don't do that!" Change requires not only a move forward but a move back. A willingness to accept the loss, to recognize the hurt and dislocation that even positive change can bring. Today, I want to live tenderly with my fellow companions on this journey, since we are all struggling with changes, big and small. May this leap ahead, remind our hearts to leap with compassion for the people about us. May we be kind and understanding, even with those who want to reprimand us and God for the state of things. May we be Christ's compassion to those who cannot bear any more change. May we walk the road with one another, knowing that transfiguration, resurrection and new life are just around the corner.