Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Meditation on Transfiguration Sunday

The readings for Sunday, February 11, 2018:

First Reading: 2 Kings 2:1-12

Psalm: Psalm 50:1-6

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Gospel: Mark 9:2-9

I often approach Transfiguration Sunday by thinking about ways to transfigure myself. In just a few days, we enter the season of Lent, that season of ash and penitence. I often discover that people are Christian when they announce what they're giving up for Lent; how sad that I can't tell in any other way that they're Christian.

Many of us approach Lent as a time to recalibrate in deeper ways.  Many churches add additional study or worship opportunities during Lent.  Many individuals adopt a Lenten discipline that asks us to add a spiritual practice to our lives that we haven't tried before.

Some of us are too tired to even come up with a transfiguring plan.  Maybe we envy the Peters of the world, with their shaggy enthusiasm.  Maybe we wish that Jesus would call us the Rock upon which he will build his church, even as Christ has to correct Peter again and again.

Maybe we are feeling like sand, the former rock of faith abraded away by the difficulties of life.  We know that a house built on sand will wash away with a big storm or with the daily movement of the waves.

But take heart:  concrete mixed with sand will be stronger.  And where do those of us who are sand find concrete?  Often we don't even have to look.  Often our family and friends are in their concrete phase when we're in our sand phase.  We strengthen each other, even when we're unaware that we're doing it.  But how much stronger we could be if we were more intentional.

If we're lucky, we've found larger networks that strengthen us too.  Maybe it's a church full of people who can be concrete when we're sand.  Maybe our colleagues at work help us to be our best selves.

 Jesus knew the value of community. He knew the human tendency to rush towards transfiguration.  We yearn to be different, but so often, we shun the hard work involved.  We might embrace transformation before we stop to consider the cost.  But if we are surrounded by community, the work transforms into something more festive.  If we stay on top of the mountain after the light fades, we may come to feel stranded.

Jesus reminds us again and again that the true work comes not from telling people what we’ve seen, but by letting what we’ve seen change the way that we live. Our true calling is not to be carnival barker, but to get on with the work of repair and building of the communities in which we find ourselves.  

We can be the rock, the concrete, the sand.  Christ's vision is big enough to transfigure us all.

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