I’m not a fan of February. Historically, February has packed some nasty punches right to my stomach in its mere 28 days. In addition it’s a brutal month here in the New England. There’s always a few warmer days just to remind us that spring will eventually arrive. Mostly, though, it’s cold, snowy, dark, and unrelenting. While this year nothing catastrophic happened in my life, the month has left me feeling a little drained and a little tense. I would like to be able to take all (photo from pdphoto.org) people to God’s holy mountain so that we can all bask in the glory of the Lord.
Unfortunately, I think I have more in common with the people of Israel than I do with Moses. Moses went up the mountain and hung out with God for a bit. The Israelites were left waiting and we know how impatient they got. I’ve been distracted by the hardships of people I know and those I hear about on the news. I haven’t gone so far as to make myself a golden calf to worship, but I start seeing problems ahead of people and I become very grumpy and impatient and want to know why God isn’t doing something. I would have fit right in with those Israelites Moses had so politely told to wait for him.
I can’t help but think the world would be a different place if we all sought out God rather than making our own gods in the midst of our grumbling impatience.
Now placing this story beside the transfiguration story, find myself a little perplexed. Peter, James and John get to go off with Jesus alone, up a high mountain. I don’t know if they were thinking about Moses on their way up, but they must have thought about him when he showed up. Either way, Peter wanted to build dwellings there and stay to worship instead of moving back down into life. I understand Peter. I don’t know that I’d be much good at building, but I would really want to stay up on a mountain where I had just witnessed Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah rather than face the messiness of daily life.
Here’s the perplexing part: They all remained unafraid while Jesus was transfigured before them. But when God claims Jesus as God’s son, the Beloved, they fall to the ground in fear. I would have lost it when Jesus started glowing! This isn’t the point of the story, of course.
I really would like to take the world to God’s holy mountain, though. The destruction of February would no longer matter. Wars would come to a halt. Human rights violations would end. It’s not something that I can make happen. What I can do is take a break. I can find that quiet place to breathe deeply in the presence of God. Moreover, I can be intentional about seeking the face of God in all who cross my path.
February is over. God is good. It is possible to climb the mountain of the Lord anywhere. It is equally possible for the glory of God to be revealed in every human face. Through Christ, we are all God’s beloved. Now if only those golden calves weren’t so pretty and shiny and easy to make…
RCL – Year A – Transfiguration Sunday – March 2, 2014
Psalm 2 or Psalm 99
2 Peter 1:16-21