Sunday, March 16, 2014
Second Sunday of Lent
“Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; . . . As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, ‘Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’" (Matthew 17:1-2a, 9)
Lately I’ve heard a plethora of grumbling about the weather — too cold, too snowy, too gloomy and too dark. In other words, too wintery! The weather in the Upper Midwest seems to be free game for griping. Give us six months and it will be too hot, too humid, too dry, too light and too summery. The weather conditions we once anticipated and celebrated have somehow become burdensome. Today’s scripture passages provide a tool for those times when we’re dancing with feelings that things are too seasonal.
Jesus knows that when he dies, the “gloom” of winter (grief) will settle on the disciples. He knows that the enthusiasm and specialness of discipleship will be fleeting. Soon they will be disillusioned by the truth of discipleship — it’s hard work. Their enthusiasm to save the world may turn to cynicism after realizing the poor aren’t grateful or compliant, or that “taking up one’s cross” may literally mean being stoned to death. The gap between the vision and the sacrifice may be more like a chasm, and God knows it. Genuine discipleship isn’t a cake walk. So, what bridges the gap?
Throughout the scriptures we’re told of “mountain top experiences” where God is revealed — Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:14), Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1-25) and Peter, James, John and Jesus on Mount Tabor (Matthew 17:1-7). God reveals His presence and true nature in each experience. God is the light in the darkness. Like the disciples, drawing on mountain-top experiences (transfigurations) in our lives, we can stand solidly on the bridge we may need to journey from season to season.
O God, Light in the darkness,
You provide the mountain-top experiences
that we need in order to journey
through the ordinary, mundane, and deep valleys of life.
When the “too” overwhelms us,
help us draw comfort in the warmth and strength of the Light.
Sister Roxanne Seifert
Vice President of Mission Integration, Avera Queen of Peace Hospital
Genesis 12:1-4a ● Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22 ● 2 Timothy 1:8b-10 ● Matthew 17:1-9