Midweek Musings for Sunday, February 15, 2015
Transfiguration of Our Lord
Last Sunday of Epiphany
This week’s reflection comes from Rev. M. Elaine Berg
Dean of the Foothills Conference and
Chair of the Board of Directors, Schoharie Area Long Term, Inc. (SALT)
Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, the resplendent light of your truth shines from the mountaintop into our hearts. Transfigure us by your beloved Son, and illumine the world with your image, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Gospel: ST. MARK 9:2-10
2Six 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, 3and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5Then 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.” 6He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”8Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
9As 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. 10So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.
I guess you had to have been there! Ever try telling someone about a great experience, a funny occurrence, a special memory? Somehow in the telling, it loses something and then we reply: “I guess you had to have been there!” We cannot seem to capture in words or even photos the emotions of those mountaintop moments. It just goes beyond words.
Then can you imagine the fear and awe that Peter, James and John must have felt when on the high mountain with Jesus? It’s not just the dazzling white of his garments or the presence of Elijah and Moses! The voice from the cloud is loud and clear, This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” And, then that moment is gone and they are alone with Jesus.
Mark’s account of Peter’s words give us the impression that they were said out of his terror. Was he afraid or was this just another case of Peter speaking without thinking? So, what did any one of them say… what did they ask as they made their way down the mountain? It has always seemed to me that Jesus brings them down from the mountain into what we might call the “real world” … the world where all the other stuff happens. The valleys of Lent where those last verses of the gospel reading remind us of what is to come before the rising from the dead:… the moments of journey toward Jerusalem; moments of high exultation as palm branches welcome Jesus into the city; then the moments of absolute fear and devastation as those same disciples witness his beating, his humiliation and finally his degradation on the cross.
But we are there. The words of the gospel writers take us into those moments of high joy and awesome terror at the wonder of who he is. He is more than that baby whose birth we celebrate; more than that young boy learning and debating in the temple; even more than the man who drives out demons and raises old women from their death beds; and, yes, even more the one who models love and forgiveness. He is The Beloved Only Son of the Living God.
We didn’t have to be there to know that story. We are the children of the living God who are called to tell the story about those moments of high exultation as well as the moments of deep sorrow and fear. As we prepare to begin our Lenten journey, may the God of the mountaintop and the valley be our source of hope and promise.
Almighty God, on the mountain you showed your glory in the transfiguration of your Son. Give us the vision to see beyond the turmoil of our world and to behold the king in all his glory; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one god, now and forever. Amen. (LBW, p. 17)