Saturday, 5 March 2011

Transfiguration

This was my view as I stood last October part way up Mount Tabor looking up to the early morning sun.


Mount Tabor in Galilee is a traditional site of the 'Transfiguration' of Jesus. It's on my mind today because tomorrow Matthew's account of this event in Jesus' life will be read in many churches. According to the writer of Matthew's gospel Jesus took the apostles Peter, James and John up a high mountain. There
"he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white."
He was seen speaking with Moses and Elijah. Peter tried to take control to preserve the amazing moment and crassly suggested building 3 dwellings for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. The next moment, with the others, he fell to the ground terrified when a voice from a bright cloud said
"This is my son, the Beloved: with him I am well pleased; listen to him!"
Last October I couldn't wait to escape from Mount Tabor. Not because I was afraid, but because it was so crowded with pilgrims that morning, competing for space in the church buildings now there. But what I will especially remember from our group's worship in that place are the words "listen to him" and the challenge, 'are you listening to Jesus?' And what might that mean?

3 comments:

  1. Many happy (and frustrating) memories of Mount Tabor Autumn 2010. Like you said, it was difficult getting either up the hill or down again - maybe that too is illustrative of our struggle for the mountaintop experience and the world's attempt to snatch it away when we do.

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  2. "Listen to him." Such a simple three word reminder. So much wisdom in it. And so, so easy to forget even during the course of a day.

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  3. Karen - yes I agree the difficulty of getting up and down does illustrate struggle for the mountaintop experience. In my experience glimpses of glory come apparently unbidden when I'm least expecting anything like that. When it happens the temptation is to want to preserve the moment, make the transient experience of transcendance something more permanent, as I think Peter did. As if we could control the wind of the Spirit.
    Anita (Dreaming Beneath the Spires) - as you say the simple 'listen to him' is a reminder so easy to forget. I love it that the first words the awestruck disicples hear from Jesus after that are 'Get up and do not be afraid'.

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