Saturday, March 5, 2011

Reflections on the Transfiguration Gospel – A Glimpse of Glory

Read the Gospel text here: Matthew 17:1-9


       We have come to the end of the season of Epiphany and we are ready to enter into our Lenten journey, which will begin next week with Ash Wednesday.  During this season we have learned from our Gospel lessons about our calling to be open vessels of God’s love and grace; about our calling to be light and salt in the midst of the tasteless darkness of our world.  Today God gives us a Glimpse of Glory through the recounting of the events of the Transfiguration from Matthew 17, and through our own participation in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, through which we receive a Foretaste of the Feast to Come.
            As we enter into this worship experience today I think it is important to understand the context for this text, which is Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem during which he repeats his Passion predictions on several occasions.  “Who do people say that I am,” Jesus asks the disciples.  “…John the Baptist, Elijah, a prophet…,” responds the disciples.  “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter finally steps forward to speak: “You are the Messiah of God.”  And then Jesus immediately defines for them what that means: suffering, crucifixion, death and resurrection.  The disciples are appalled.  They thought they had signed on with a Messiah who would bring them glory and power and influence.  Not so.  Jesus is insistent and repeats this prediction over and over again.
            And then Jesus takes three of them up the mountain where they have a moment of peace.  And, there on the mountain they receive a glimpse of God’s glory.  I suppose we can understand why Peter and the others want to hang on to this experience as long as they possibly can.  But it is truly a glimpse, a moment, and then it is over.  And they are heading back down the mountain to resume the journey.
            We too are on a journey.  Our lives are a journey with Christ, and sometimes the journey takes us into bright and beautiful places, and sometimes into some very dark places.  Throughout it all Christ is with us; Christ is present with us.  How do we know this?  Because of the glimpses God gives to us of His love and His glory.  Each time we take the bread and wine of the Sacrament we are receiving a Foretaste of the Feast to Come, a taste of the heavenly banquet.  Each time we experience kindness, grace and love from another we are catching a glimpse of glory.  As we prepare to enter into Lent I would invite you to think about your own experiences and make yourself aware of the various times and places when you have caught a glimpse of the glory of God.

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