Jesus takes Peter, James, and John and leads them up a mountain. There they witness a dazzling light and the ancestors, Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. What do we make of this mysterious story? Peter, with his typical practicality, suggests that they make three dwellings; one each for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.
Six weeks ago, we followed the star to find God in the form of a baby. We have seen his baptism, his journey into the wilderness, and his early ministry. In a few days, we will receive the ashes that mark the beginning of Lent and our journey with Jesus toward his death and resurrection.
This moment of transfiguration, this mountain top experience, is a call to transformation. In the Transfiguration, the glory of Jesus was revealed to the most ordinary of people: Peter, James, and John. We too are invited to see Jesus in a new way.
Our hearts are transformed when we watch for Christ in the people and experiences we encounter each day. At a recent session of The Academy for Spiritual Formation, I found myself deeply touched during the worship services. As I listened to the chanting of a psalm during morning prayer, I felt myself overflowing in gratitude for the gift of music, for the voice of the cantor, for Christian communities through the ages who have praised and worshiped God early in the morning. As I offered the cup of blessing during the Eucharist service, my heart was transformed in love for each person: “The cup of salvation, poured out for you.”
I wonder, How is God transforming me today, in this transition from Epiphany to Lent? May we watch for Christ’s presence in the experiences and the people we meet today.
Reflect on the people and places where you have seen Christ in the last few days. How have these interactions been sources of transformation for you? Say a prayer of thanks for these experiences.
In the week leading to Transfiguration Sunday, the texts all deal with holy, transforming light; but they also speak to the awkwardness of waiting for and finally experiencing that light. Elisha’s is a stop-and-go pilgrimage before he sees the chariots of fire. The psalmist proclaims the march of the sun across the sky while also waiting for the eschatological arrival of God’s justice for God’s people. Paul empathizes with the believers in Corinth who are having to wait and work to “give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up a mountain where they wait and are terrified by the cloud of glory that overshadows them.
Read 2 Kings 2:1-12. Think of a time when you waited for a blessing from God. How did the waiting feel? How did you experience the blessing when it came?
Read Psalm 50:1-6. What helps you to be aware of God’s presence with you from “the rising of the sun to its setting” each day?
Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-6. What are the areas of your life where God is shining a light? Are there any areas where you may be blind to the light?
Read Mark 9:2-9. Identify a spiritual “mountaintop experience” you have had. What was the lasting impact of that experience on your life as a follower of Christ?
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