Friday Focus: Transfigurations
Well this is more like it. Brilliant lights and shining garments, a voice from the clouds, Moses and Elijah in attendance…this is what the coming of the Messiah was meant to be. No wonder Peter is ready to set up shop right on top of the mountain. Let’s get some tents up here and start the kingdom right now.
Poor practical Peter, what else was he to do? In the face of the divine, his reaction is so very human. Jesus has come to redeem the world and build an eternal, heavenly kingdom. And Peter can only think about the trappings of an earthly kingdom. Jesus is operating on a completely different, elevated plane and Peter is bound by the limits of his expectations, his experiences and his senses. Once again Peter is our “every man.” He stands in for all of us in our trivial, human frailty before the face of God. How like us he is.
How would we behave before the transfigured glory of Jesus? It is not a hypothetical question. In our final hour, it is a certainty that awaits us all. Surely we’ll be in unimaginable awe. But after a lifetime of Christian instruction and worship, will we finally, fully understand the message or continue to project our own expectations? By the grace of God, we know the answer. All will be made plain. And since that meeting is a certainty, let’s take the little time we have here to prepare for it…better to meet with an intimate friend than a neglected stranger.
While Peter is a prime, first-hand witness to the wonders of Jesus, for him up on that mountain, the good news is still unraveling? Where is it going? Where will it end? And then Jesus tells Peter, James and John to keep what they saw a secret: until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. If you think they were confused before, what’s this all about? Once again we have the advantage of perspective. We have been taught the full story. Over and over we have learned of the saving death and resurrection of Jesus. But what have we done with that ultimate good news? Is it filed away for some distant death bed referral? Or do we live by it, shaping our choices and decisions every day? Are the life, death and resurrection of Jesus immediate imperatives that impact our lives or are they fabled abstractions, dusted off and taken out to lend texture to traditional holiday celebrations?
That is the challenge of this Second Sunday in Lent. Live real lives, right here, right now… with and in the dazzling, transfigured Jesus. In the words of the Father: listen to him. Follow him to glory. God loves you no less than Moses or Elijah. Make loving, praising and thanking him a part of your day. And you will be transfigured, too.