Earlier this week we reflected on Elisha receiving the mantle of Elijah and our formation in Christian community. Jesus shaped the lives of his disciples as they followed him along dusty roads and then onto the mountain where they witness the Transfiguration. Peter, James, and John hear the words of God spoken from a cloud, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him.” Leaving the mountain, the disciples carry those words with them into the difficult times ahead of them.
When we are on the mountaintop, experiencing the heady excitement of a “thin place,” it is easy to believe that we will always feel this way. But when the dazzling light fades and we step back into reality, we face the challenge: Can we remember God’s invitation?
Returning home from a week at The Academy for Spiritual Formation, I often have difficulty with reentry. As I leave the retreat center, I am flying high with love, with a sense of belonging, with the certainty that God was in that place and Christ was present in those people. Once I am back home, faced with the mundane tasks of doing laundry and going back to the office, I feel lonely and empty. I want to be back on the mountaintop.
What I am finding is that, over time, I am being transformed by my experience. While I cannot live on the mountaintop, I can find Christ all around me if I keep my ears and eyes and heart open. I can listen to the Beloved, sensing the presence of the Holy One in the ordinary and challenging world in which I live.
God’s presence walks with us as we follow Jesus along dusty roads; as we sit, transformed, on a mountain; and as we follow Jesus towards Jerusalem.
God of transformation, journey with us through the brokenness of this world. Open our ears, our eyes, our hearts to your presence around us. We are yours. Amen.
In the week leading to Transfiguration Sunday, the texts all deal with holy, transforming light; but they also speak to the awkwardness of waiting for and finally experiencing that light. Elisha’s is a stop-and-go pilgrimage before he sees the chariots of fire. The psalmist proclaims the march of the sun across the sky while also waiting for the eschatological arrival of God’s justice for God’s people. Paul empathizes with the believers in Corinth who are having to wait and work to “give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up a mountain where they wait and are terrified by the cloud of glory that overshadows them.
Read 2 Kings 2:1-12. Think of a time when you waited for a blessing from God. How did the waiting feel? How did you experience the blessing when it came?
Read Psalm 50:1-6. What helps you to be aware of God’s presence with you from “the rising of the sun to its setting” each day?
Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-6. What are the areas of your life where God is shining a light? Are there any areas where you may be blind to the light?
Read Mark 9:2-9. Identify a spiritual “mountaintop experience” you have had. What was the lasting impact of that experience on your life as a follower of Christ?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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