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
Don’t we want to just stay where we are? To not go any farther than we have (or than we have to), especially when we may feel we’ve already come a long way? Can we really blame Peter for his enthusiasm here: Lord, we have been with you, you have invited us to this journey, this place, this moment. And now this incredible thing has happened – this revealing of our forebear and our prophet, and of your own divine being. Let’s just hold this in place. I have to wonder if he not only stood amazed at the moment, but maybe kind of glad that it had finally happened (and now he could be done?).
And then a voice is heard, the confirmation of what they were beginning to understand: Jesus’ mission and meaning is not just in the world but for the world. How could they do anything other than drop to the ground in fear? And THEN to be told But don’t say anything to anybody for a while yet. I’m not sure if that would be the harder part or the easier: Because after all, how would we say Here is what happened and here is what I think it means.
How DO we do that? In our own lives, day to day … how do we say I believe in Jesus and try with all that I am to follow him as he would have me.
Do we do it by insisting that we know the way? Are we so sure that we are faithful that we cannot conceive of other ways to get to the same place? Do we demand mountain top experiences every time we’re in worship and look with skepticism at the value of what we don’t think is ‘good’ church?
Or do we listen first and speak after? Do we invite conversation instead of cultivating monologues? Do we draw on a spirit of faith rather than fear, of community rather than competition, of inspiration rather than desperation? Can we find it within ourselves to meet Jesus on the mountaintop, to gather the richness of that moment, and to hold and carry and use it wisely, at the right time, in the right way, not for our own glory and attention, but for the good of God’s world?
Prayer God of revelation, Christ the revealed: When I am ready to stay put, nudge me forward again. When I am stunned or awed, transform that into active faith. When I am weary or afraid, say again that I have nothing to fear. Use me as you will, through light and dark, on mountains and in valleys, that your will may be done in your world for your sake. Amen
Taken from the 2017 Disciples Home Missions Lenten Devotional Resource, written by Rev. Courtney Richards.