Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Transfiguration

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.” Mark 9:2-13

Because of the geography of where we live, one can watch the sun set into open water. We live at the very end of a little slip of land that is New Jersey, one side surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the other by the Delaware Bay. There s nothing more delightful in good weather than to take an after dinner cup of coffee up to the beach and watch the sunset. The world changes from bright light and grays and blues to a world of pinks, reds and oranges. There is a moment before dark when everything and everybody are changed, transfigured, and the light makes them beatific and extraordinary in the multi-colored waning light.

Jesus goes up the mountain, taking Peter, James and John with him. This is a pivotal moment in Jesus' ministry. When he comes down from the mountain, his face is set on Jerusalem, facing his destiny, walking into the politically charged nexus that would bring about his death. In a single moment, the three disciples witness a vision that would sustain them through the coming dark days. They say the complete Jesus, in relation to the pillars of the faith, and knew him in all his extraordinary goodness, his real being, the son of God, savior of the world. A momentary glimpse, as the light changed again and they were alone would have to sustain them through some pretty rough times. And yet it seems that God is always about giving us glimpses of more, of possibility and hidden strength and beauty when we need it the most.

Today, I ask God to help me to seek the momentary rather than the permanent, the new vision rather than the solid contract. It is easy for any of us to give up on the journey when the road gets challenging and tough. May we all have the God give courage to be sustained by the many ways God is revealed to us today.

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