Sunday, February 7, 2016

Transfiguration Sunday

Transfiguration by Father John Giuliani
About eight days after Peter had acknowledged Jesus as the Christ of God, Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"--not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. Luke 9:28-36 

More than twenty five years ago I  was anxiously walking into my sister Pegi's hospital room. She was just 42, and awaiting surgery for cancer in Miami. My parents were already there. I was comfortable visiting folks in the hospital, but this was my sister, and the prognosis was not good. I was a wreck. When I went into the room, there she was, without any hair looking more beautiful than ever, and my parents were sitting on either side of her. In that moment I saw her as eternal, radiant. I also knew she was going to die, but was comforted by my vision of her. It gave me the strength to go on. She died about a week later, the surgeon finding her so riddled with cancer they could do nothing more. I miss her still and know she is fully restored and surrounded by the love of God.

Jesus and his disciples are up on the mountain. It is the moment before Jesus sets his face to Jerusalem, and his impending death. On that mountain we were given a vision of the eternal, of the intimacy of his relationship with God and the Creator's faithfulness throughout time. The disciples had a vision that would help them face Jerusalem and all that followed. And we too have a vision, an eternal promise of love and presence that will get us through the days to come.

Today, I ask God to remind me of the mighty and everlasting love we have been given. May we live as people who know mountain top experiences and can go forward facing the biggest challenges ahead with joy and love. 

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.

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