Lord, it is good to be here.
Mark 9: 2—9
“Lord, it is good to be here,” we say with Peter. Here, on top of a mountain with Jesus. Here, at the end of our Epiphany journey-from the manger to a mountaintop. Travelling in the growing light – from the Star of Bethlehem to the glorious glow of heaven. Week by week the light has slowly revealed to us who Jesus is as we first watched Jesus splashing in the water of the Jordan, learned what he valued as he, poor as he was, was tempted by want in the wilderness, watched him touch, lift and heal so many people, as we were introduced to a new world order as he spoke to the 5,000: “blessed are the poor…blessed are the hungry… blessed are those who weep…”. Revelations of who Jesus was as he created his own reality, dispersing the shadows of our ignorance with the light of God’s glorious ways.
But on this mountain, more than revelation is happening. This is transfiguration. This is physical change and no one can embrace this experience without being changed themselves. Jesus is encompassed within God’s glory. Jesus now stands in league with Moses and Elijah. There is no question to Peter, James and John that this is the Christ. But do we question it? Do we believe with our minds that Jesus is the Christ because of what has been revealed to us, or has what we witnessed on the mountain transfigured our hearts?
How we answer this is so key to who we are and how we will journey through our lives, the paths we will take, the values we will hold. Because we don’t live on mountains. Neither does Jesus or the disciples. When Jesus comes back down that mountainside, they head to Jerusalem, they are heading the Lenten way, the crucifixion way, the resurrection way and, unless our hearts have been transfigured on this mountain, we are not going to make it.
Why? Because it is just a whole lot easier to go along in in our lives in blissful ignorance than to try to live in the ways of truth and justice. It is just easier to know of those refugees far away and believe the distance between us makes us immune to their suffering. It is just easier to put up walls and keep them out, hoarding our privileges for ourselves. It is just easier not to think about our carbon footprint and to have our toys and let our children worry about it.
Life would have been far easier for Jesus if he had just embraced the temptations he was being offered in the wilderness than continue to live his life as the poor, suffering servant.
I know we are not God. I know that none of us feel divine in the same way Jesus was. But we are, like him, made in God’s image. We hold within us the potential of allowing our spirits not to be conformed to this world but be transformed, actually touched by the hand of God. If, if, and only if we believe that the reality of God is within us.
“In a Native American parable, the Creator gathers all the animals and says: ‘I want to hide something from humans until they are ready for it- the realization that they can create their own reality.’ ‘Give it to me,’ says the eagle. ‘I will fly it to the moon.’ ‘No,’ the Creator responds, ‘one day they will go there and find it.’ ‘How about the bottom of the ocean’ asks the salmon. ‘No, they will find it there too.’ ‘I will bury it in the great plains,’ says the buffalo. ‘They will soon dig and find it there.’ ‘Put it inside them, says the wise grandmother mole. ‘Done,’ says the Creator, ‘It is the last place they will look.’
And it often is the last place we look for salvation. We look at the billboards of life. We look at others to save us, finances to save us, power to save us, military might to save us. But it is not very often that we stop, turn and look inside at the reality of God’s glory within us, and how that can transform our present, and imagine our futures in a different way.
It is just easier to go along with the world than try and save it. Post transfiguration life is not for the faint of heart. We are all heading to Jerusalem. If we head into Lent with only our revelations of what we know Christ can do, then there will be moments in our own lives of swords in the garden, the sound of running away, of denials beside firesides surrounded by crowds who can be bought, the jangle of coins tempting us to sell out those we have come to love. The way of Christ, sharing in the creation of our own reality of who we really are, of who the Creator has always meant us to be, the way of resurrection from the tombs which try to enclose us, can only come from the transfiguration of our own being.
Can we honestly say “Lord, it is good to be here.” or would we rather wrap ourselves in the cocoons of ignorance and travel through this world with our eyes wide shut? That is the question as we come to the table.