Sunday, February 19, 2012
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!" Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. Mark 9:2-9
There are times of year, and times of day when the light is just right and all of the weather cooperates when one can capture the full beauty of our surroundings. Here by the ocean, clouds and storms move in quite quickly and what looks like a perfect sunset can become dull or treacherous within minutes. Other times, a person can only hold their breath in wonder, amazed and dazzled by the beauty and magnificence of God's creation. We have glimpses of the real evidence of God's complete and total love for us in the stunning and gorgeous moments that happen from time to time, unbidden, unexpected, and marvelous all the same.
The transfiguration of Jesus is read right before we begin the season of Lent and it falls in the Gospels as Jesus is making his final journey to Jerusalem. It would lead him to the cross. Unbidden, unexpected and marvelous, God reveals the true nature of relationship with the Son, and speaks softly words of reassurance and encouragement. The disciples as well as Jesus will need these words and vivid images to carry them through the tough times ahead. It would be an internal icon, a blissful moment to hold close when the world collapses around them and when fear and violence are their only companions.
Many of us face great challenges in the coming days, and it can seem, in times like these, that we are surrounded by fear and violence. And yet God promises to give us moments, unbidden, unexpected and marvelous, to hold close as we walk through the storms are predicaments of life. God promises to make the divine love visible, surrounding us with companions and relationships that hold us firm in the face of shifting sands and treacherous times. May we hold tightly to the beauty and love we have been given, knowing these are only a small shadow, a dim reflection of the enormous love and care God has for all of us, whatever rough road we find ourselves on.
O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.