Transfiguration! What an exciting story, filled with rich imagery and joy.
The journey was up a mountainside. Jesus was transfigured and the disciples experienced holy fear. They liked the light, the awesomeness, the
joy, the sparkle so much so that Peter wanted to stay. He liked the “churchy” thing…the building of churches, the rituals, the words, the songs etc.
Imagine a great forest. “Churchy” people stand before it and look. They may comment on how beautiful it is and admire it. They notice the pretty birds singing in the trees. They then walk away. Other people push through the fear, run into the forest, climb the trees, fall, break a leg, get caught in the bushes and brambles, step in the muck. Birds do their business on them. They literally get involved and kicked around. They sometimes even come up laughing.
Imagine a huge ocean. “Churchy” people admire the water. They stroll along the shore and marvel. Then wander away. Other people run through the fear, leap into the ocean and swim. They get hit by rocks, fish bites, and waves sweep them up and toss them around. They usually get tossed back to shore coughing up water, exhausted, yet filled with freedom.
Perhaps this holy season challenges us to walk through the fear, be emptied out, to let go of the fantasy self and get real, to quit marveling and to walk deeper in the flow of Spirit. The Mystery of Spirit will journey us through tough and hazardous times, transforming us so we can be useful to God like the rays from light, like branches on the vine, bearing fruit. The “churchy” thing is fine. The journey is much deeper and difficult but far more real, more risky, more dangerous, more life threating.
Maybe that’s what Lent is all about - the evolutionary journey from death to resurrection.
The disciples fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone. Matthew 17: 7-8