Hope all is going well with you & that some are able to go away & have a change of scene.
August 6th is the Feast of the Transfiguration so our reflection are focussed on that very strange event that we read of in the gospels. We have included the account of it found in Matthew’s Gospel, (in Mark’s gospel you will find it at 9.1-8 & in Luke 9.28-36). We hope one or other of the reflections will give you a new insight or two into this happening.
Our blessing this week is Rutter’s ‘Go Forth’. May it bring us all peace & courage as each of us faces the challenges of the next weeks.
With love & prayer
They climbed a hill together,
Jesus & Peter, James & John,
to find a quiet place,
a place apart from the crowds
who were clamouring for healing,
and for Jesus to teach them more about the Kingdom of Heaven.
The demands on them had been heavy.
He had fed the hungry crowd,
healed the deaf & blind,
and raised the little daughter of Jairus who they thought was dead.
He had taught them such unusual things,
always surprising them with his stories,
and they began to wonder who he could be.
Who could do such things?
Heal as he did?
Speak such wise words in the synagogue?
And then in the quiet of that place
they began to see him differently.
They recognised that in some mysterious way
Jesus was the Son of God;
the one for whom they had waited & longed,
just as the prophets of old had waited & longed for the Messiah.
They did not understand quite what was happening,
but gradually, & oh so slowly,
they began to see that they must listen to Jesus
and learn from him,
for what he was teaching would change the world.
After this encounter with mystery,
they returned down the hill,
back to the ordinary,
back to the waiting crowds
and other requests for healing,
and answers to the question:
‘Who is this man?’
Who is this man?
How do I listen & understand & respond to his teaching?
Let me, too, find a quiet place, a place apart,
and try & enter into the mystery,
that I, too, might have a moment of recognition
and of knowing & of travelling deeper into mystery.
‘This is my Son, my beloved; listen to him.’
Let me receive these words into my heart
that my life might too be changed.
The Feast of the Transfiguration – August 6th
Six days later Jesus took Peter and the brothers James and John with him. They went up on a very high mountain where they could be alone. There in front of the disciples, Jesus was completely changed. His face was shining like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.
All at once Moses and Elijah were there talking with Jesus. So Peter said to him, “Lord, it is good for us to be here! Let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While Peter was still speaking, the shadow of a bright cloud passed over them. From the cloud a voice said, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him. Listen to what he says!” When the disciples heard the voice, they were so afraid that they fell flat on the ground. But Jesus came over and touched them. He said, “Get up and don’t be afraid!” When they opened their eyes, they saw only Jesus.
The Transfiguration of All – David Adam
Here is a mountain-top experience, in a rarified atmosphere, & yet we are called to share in it. We are all given the opportunity to be alone with Jesus & to see him for what he truly is. And in seeing him & his glory we will be changed.
The transfiguration was not only a vision of the glory of Jesus, but an awakening to what all of life is about. Vision, if it is true, always demands change within us & about us. Vision awakens us to new potential, to new ways of seeing & doing what is asked of us.
Only those who keep their eyes open are truly able to see.
Transfiguration: Timely Words
Just to set the scene: six days after Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Messiah – and Jesus’ rebuke of Peter’s understanding of what it means to be the Messiah – Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain and is transfigured. That is, his appearance is literally changed right in front of them, so that while they recognize their Lord they also perceive his heavenly glory in a way they had not before. It has been an emotionally-charged time. I suspect that Peter has alternately felt thrilled by the reception of his confession, hurt by Jesus’ rebuke, confused by what Jesus is saying, and uncertain about the future. And now, dazzled, perplexed, probably more than a little overwhelmed, but also, perhaps, excited to be at this place and time and witness this event,
It’s a confusing time, a heady time, an exciting time, an uncertain time. I’m not sure Peter knew entirely what to make of it.The whole Transfiguration event can be a little hard to interpret. In Matthew’s narrative, it is a turning point, the time when Jesus – now turns steadfastly toward Jerusalem to offer a different picture of Messiah and glory than anyone then – or now – expected.
Allow the words spoken on that mountain to speak to us in this time and place.
Think about it: right now, the world we live in is filled with a variety of confusing events, divisive rhetoric, increased tension, and an unclear picture of the future. Some dread what is happening; some find it exciting. All sense the importance of this moment.
First, the instruction: “Listen to him.” The best way to understand God is to look to Jesus and listen to him. To pay attention to what Jesus says and does, to whom he reaches out, to those he gives attention and help. Yes, if we all keep trying to listen to Jesus together – we will get closer to what God intends for us.
Second, the command: “Get up.” Be raised up.” Or even, “be resurrected.” Think of Genesis: “Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (1:3) – we might also hear in Jesus’ words a call to action that actually gives us the energy and will to act, to make a difference, to be about the works of mercy and compassion to which God always calls us.
Third, the promise: “Do not be afraid.” This is the hallmark of the Gospel, words perhaps never more needed than now. The fears we experience will be different. The threat of terrorism, the prospect of job loss, the potential to betray our national identity and values, the fading possibility of a better future for our children, fear of ageing, dread illness, unexpected death, the list goes on. Fear is a part of the common fabric of our lives even though it manifests itself differently. And to all these different fears, the Gospel reply is the same: Because God is God of the past, present, and future, we need not fear. This is not the same as saying that we will have no problems, or that we will avoid all harm and hardship. Rather, it is recognizing that when we trust God for our individual and communal good and believe God is with us always, we need not fear. It is to recognize that God did not create us for death but for resurrection, and so also God does not want us to be afraid but to move forward – even and especially in uncertain times – with courage and confidence.
Listen. Be raised up. Do not fear. It’s important to remember that these words are said by Jesus as he refuses to linger on the mountain top but comes back down again into the realities of the world – and our life – as he makes his way to Jerusalem. There he will be tried, condemned, and crucified, for the world has made no place for the encouragement and hope he offers. But the story does not end with only the courage of one man defying the world. It continues with the promise that God raised this One from the dead so that all of us might have hope that there is more to this life than we can see, that God will be with us every step of our way, and that love and life are stronger than hate and death.