"At his Transfiguration Christ showed his disciples the splendor of his beauty, to which he will shape and color those who are his." - Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae
Reading: Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, 'Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.'
- Matthew 17:1-9
Reflection: Last week's reflection was also about the Transfiguration in Matthew. Since snow had other plans for us, and we didn't get to worship on March 2, we thought we would still start the Lenten season with the Transfiguration, by looking at it in a different light. Sometimes people don't like the Lenten season. It's introspective and penitential. Sometimes people sacrifice certain things, others fast from certain foods, or other aspects of life giving up Facebook or TV. It seems as if its all about stripping away and taking off. But it doesn't have to be.
We prepare ourselves for difficulty, as Lent may be difficult for some. We concentrate on Jesus' journey to Jerusalem where we ultimately know he will die. But we also know that God is with us on this journey. And even if we didn't know the end of the story, the other side of the cross, we know that Jesus called the disciples and calls us to travel with him to Jerusalem. He does not want to stay in one place, protected from harm. He does not want us to build a house for him or keep him safely in a box. Jesus calls us to travel with him. It doesn't have to be painful, but it probably won't be easy. It won't be easy because we want more. We want the deeper relationship with God in Christ. We crave the intimacy with our Creator, we struggle to drown out the noise of the world so that we can hear the Spirit. Yet even with any of that difficulty, or the pain of knowing part of the end of the story, knowing that in the end Jesus is crucified, we also know that Jesus is with us, that he leads the way to Jerusalem and beyond. Come, prepare for these next six weeks. Come, meet us at the table. All are welcome!