As we first enter the Lenten season, the focus almost always seemed to be about change. Questions such as, “What am I to give up for Lent?” or even, “What task or new habit can I incorporate in to my daily life?”. As we all know, change, though scary at times, is almost always good. Just as the change that came over Jesus in Mark 9:2-9
“Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.”
Peter, John and James witnessed a rare sight, the Transfiguration or change, of Jesus. Just as we experience change during these days of Lent, so did Jesus on top of the mountain. But what I find interesting is that these men still recognized Jesus as, well, Jesus. Though He was clothed in “dazzling white”. He was the same teacher, and friend, that these gentlemen had always known. They recognized Him still, and were humbled by the change that manifested in Him at the time.
Often times we fear change because we wonder, “Will my friends and family still love me?”. Or those around us may even question the changes, fearing this new person we have become, will not be as welcoming to those around us. But Jesus changed, and did Peter, John or James flee in fear? No, actually after Peter witnessed Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah, he wanted to literally roll out the welcome mat. Not entirely understanding what was happening, but trusting Jesus, Peter wanted to build a dwelling for all three. He was so excited to be a witness to this special occasion, he sought some way to preserve the moment. If such an occurrence happened now, I can almost guarantee every one of us would want to do the same. But instead of constructing tents, we would quickly be updating our status on Facebook, or posting like a gazillion pics on Instagram. Or just as likely, our fingers would quickly be flying across our keyboards, sending out Tweets about what an awesome time we had hanging out with Jesus.
So, we know Peter, John and James had this life-changing experience on the mountain. They witnessed Jesus’ Transfiguration, as well as a booming voice in the cloud declaring exactly who Jesus is, and are instructed to listen to Him. When I first became a Christian, and was walking on wobbly stones in my faith, I often asked God, “Give me a sign, show me you are You”. Well as you can imagine, that didn’t happen. And honestly, if it had, I wouldn’t be so sure that I could have even believed my own eyes. Yet, don’t we all strive to witness the true face of God, to see with our own eyes that He really is just who He says He is, and can do what He unequivocally declares to be done? Yet as we read in the Bible, true visitations by our heavenly Father are rare. But, He is still just as real to us today as He was so long ago on top of that mountain.
As we use this time to manifest changes in ourselves, as we strive to develop a deeper relationship with our blessed Father, let us never forget that He is right here with us. He is sitting at the kitchen table as you sip that first cup of coffee. He is standing in the check out line at the store. He is in the car on our daily commute home in the evening. And, He is there when we finally decide to put our daily cares to rest, and before we close our eyes at night, whispering “Thank you God for another day.”.
You met with Moses on the top of a mountain,
And when he descended his face was shining
And in your power he brought your laws to a needy people.
You met with Christ on top of a mountain
And he was transformed with brightness
And descended with renewed strength.
Lord, we want to meet with you and be transformed by you
And to bring your transformation to the world around us.
Help us to bring your presence to the lives of those burdened with sickness or pain,
And those weighed down with confusion or grief.
Bring your healing touch to those lives today,
And let us support those we know in need with a constant friendship.
Help us to bring your change to a troubled society,
Where people are unsure of so much and where change comes so fast.
Give us the grace to understand people’s problems and anxieties
And the strength to tackle difficult issues head on.
Help us to work together to transform a needy world,
Whether through giving or educating or leading by example.
Give us the wisdom to see through big and complex issues
And the love that will keep us going when problems are overwhelming.
Help us to always be a beacon for you,
Individually and together.
We don’t stand on any lofty mountain
But we have a God who is changing us every day
And through whom we can reach out to change a broken world.
Be with us today Lord and help us take whatever step is next for us.
We ask this through the power of your love.