Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Day, Transfiguration Sunday, and Ash Wednesday

Today is Transfiguration Sunday, which in Protestant churches always comes the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.  But it doesn't always come the day after Valentine's Day.  It's a juxtaposition that swirls in my brain.  Let me capture some thoughts:

--I think of Peter up on the mountain top, Peter, who wants to build booths, to turn Christ into Carnivale.  I think of that urge towards capitalism.  I feel the same weariness when I saw all the ads for flowers and diamonds and gifts.

--I also saw how that urge towards capitalism turns shabby late in the day.  We stopped by the CVS to pick up some cold medicine for my poor spouse.  I saw the flowers that weren't chosen, the candy that will go on sale this morning.  I don't want to see it as a metaphor about love.

--I also have Ash Wednesday on the brain, especially after a year of hard losses and the foreshadowing of losses to come.  Does all our love just come to ash?

--Well, yes, in one sense it does.  But Transfiguration Sunday reminds us that God has other plans.  God can take dust and create a world.  God can take the dust of all our dashed hopes and turn them into a creation of glowing wonder.

--These holidays and high holy days should also remind us of God's example of ultimate love.  God knows us truly and completely--and God loves us anyway.

--We are called to show that kind of love too, and not just to our loved ones.  It should be easy to love those people.  We also need to show that kind of love to the people who are difficult to love.

--In this way, we help to transfigure the world.

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