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
We are all looking for mountain top experiences and moments of great clarity that solidify our faith. Mine come, most often, in the most unlikely places. When I was a new deacon, I flew to Florida to see my sister, Pegi. She had survived several cancer operations and treatments and was facing another surgery. I, who was trained to deal with the trauma in hospitals, was not ready to face my sister's end. She was forty two and vibrant, lovely and loved by the children she taught. I found her room, and as I went in, she sat up radiant in her bed between my parents, my pillars of faith. A moment of beautiful, shining, transfiguration moment, when at once I understood she was dying and she was surrounded by the loving arms of Jesus. This moment gave me strength for the storms and grief ahead.
Jesus takes his disciples up the mountain and they are overwhelmed by what they see and experience. They are scared and excited, not knowing how to deal with this vision. Their learning with their teacher had not taught them about this moment. What was ahead for Jesus and for them was overwhelming, horrifying and wonderful too. Real human life in it's cruelty, politics, jealousy and pain were in front of them. They were able to take this moment with them, this vision, as they walked into the storms ahead. We are invited today, to understand that in our low places, in our messy homes, in our shame filled moments and in our dying, we are never alone. In all of our frightened frailty, there is but only Jesus.
Today I ask God to help me remember all the visions of God's presence and love in my life. May these moments make me stronger for the storms ahead. May we all be strengthened so we can care for those around us, who are mired in hopelessness and pain.