From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Transfiguration: Peaks and valleys

(Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen)  
Matthew 17:1-9 (NIV) tells the thought- provoking story of “The Transfiguration.” The three disciples (Peter being one) who were led by Jesus “up a high mountain” got considerably more than they were expecting.

It wasn’t enough that Jesus’ face suddenly “shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” There were also the “guest appearances” by Moses and Elijah, as well as the “voice from the cloud” which proclaimed: This is my Son, whom I love… Listen to him!

This epiphany turned out to be even more “terrifying” for mere humans than seeing grizzlies on the peaks of Yosemite. The three astonished disciples “fell face down to the ground” upon hearing those holy words. Even Peter, who up until then was still offering to pitch some tents and perhaps sing Kumbaya, was temporarily halted in his hyperactive tracks.

If the story ended there, it would have been inspiring in a frenzied sort of way. These were certainly unforgettable peak experiences (both literally and figuratively). Some of us might even be thinking: “Wouldn’t it be nice if worship services (and life itself) were that exhilarating?”

However, Jesus seems to have thought otherwise. He immediately told the fallen disciples two things: “Get up” and “Don’t be afraid.” As he led them back down the mountain, Jesus added a third: “Don’t tell…”

Mother Theresa used to reassure her own students that it’s not necessary to do great things, just small things with great love. Sanctity can be found even within valleys of despair - as long as we courageously and humbly pick ourselves back up again each time that we fall.

Copyright March 15, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All rights reserved

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