Transfiguration of our Lord
February 19, 2012
For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. — 2 Corinthians 4:6
What do you make of the story of Jesus’ transfiguration in the presence of Peter, James, and John? I’m not talking about getting all rational or speaking theologically about this account as it is presented in Mark’s gospel; I want to know how it speaks to your heart, to your core, to who you are as a child of God.
I sometimes think we look at events in scripture as distant and removed from the realm of possibility, as story-book stuff. The closest we come to scripture as real life happens through the visions of Hollywood directors like Cecil B. DeMille (The Ten Commandments) or Mel Gibson (The Passion of the Christ). Maybe that is a sweeping assumption, but I’m willing to bet that NFL superstars and Academy Award winners are more real and relevant to most folks than Jesus and his entourage of disciples.
Maybe that’s what happened with Peter, James, and John when they saw Jesus for who and what he really is – God’s beloved son. He had just told his closest followers that some of them would see the Kingdom of God (Mark 9:1). There on that mountaintop three of them got a glimpse of that reality, and it confused the heck out of them. Ever wonder how they knew with whom Jesus was conversing? Remember, there were no Kodak memories at that time. Did they simply know at some deep gut level that they were in the presence of Moses and Elijah? Were they wearing name tags? Did God tell them while speaking from the cloud? Maybe Jesus filled in the gaps with some narration. We’re not told all of the details, just the really important ones.
We know that the three disciples saw Jesus for who he really is, in all his God-glory. We know that God told them (and us) to listen to Jesus. We know that the experience didn’t last, and that Jesus and his disciples were back in the trenches of life and ministry in short order. Finally, we know they puzzled over the whole experience, and that somehow they were transformed by it themselves.
Paul, who also experienced God-light on the Damascus road, has a few things to say about the light of the gospel in his second letter to the Corinthians. He reminds us of our proper response to Jesus, to the good news we are called to share, and how we are to reflect the light of God-in-Christ. We, you and I, have been transfigured by the love of God and the grace of Jesus Christ so that we carry the light within. We don’t, however, carry the light to keep it in, but rather to let it shine through us revealing something of God to the world.
It’s tough to let our little God-lights shine in the darkness of this broken world. There is so much that can blind people to the light of Christ; sometimes it feels like comparing the glow of a firefly (us) to a brightly-lit Broadway marquee (the lures and charms of the world). How can we compete?
I guess the best way to start is to take Paul’s words to heart. It’s not about us. It’s all about the message we bear. We don’t have to worry about the wattage of our message or the brightness of our bulb. God has all of that handled. We simply need to put ourselves out there, living in the light and love of Christ, walking in the way, and sharing what we know of God as revealed in the Son.
Think of it this way: Have you ever watched a field come alive at night with the soft pulsing glow of myriad fireflies? Alone, a single firefly’s light is miniscule. When a host of the creatures are out there doing their firefly thing, the sight is simply amazing, Each one of us has the capacity to give others a glimpse of the God-Light, but when we as the church work together, the light of Christ shines bright and beautiful offering a beacon of hope to the searching soul.
Let your light shine, no matter how dim or bright you may assume it to be. Remember, with God all things are possible, including using your light right here, right now.