All in one Moment
So this is the account that is always read on the 2nd Sunday of Lent, the story of the Transfiguration. We have Matthew’s & Luke’s version, this year we read Mark’s version. They are each a little different, that in it-self should tell us that it wasn’t important exactly how it happen because we have three different accounts and each one says it happened differently. So people who argue that this is the only way, it’s hardly ever the only way. Spiritual texts have many levels of understanding. I’m going to take a few minutes to give you some of the possible and the beautiful symbols that are contained in this short reading so that you might go home and study the text yourself.
It’s called the moment of Transfiguration, were Jesus walked to the mountain top and he only takes three people with him. Now remember this is very stylized and setup like a big picture. This picture has been painted many times. Jesus stands in the middle, each side of him stands Moses and Elijah. They are the symbols of the two parts of the Hebrew Scriptures, the law and the prophets. Maybe in our language you would call, it to be perfectly honest, the conservatives and the liberals. The law is what the conservatives are usually involved about and the prophets, who wanted to change things are what liberals are usually talking about. It is interesting that Jesus stands between them both. Seemingly saying there both part of the picture. But as we are seeing in our country right now most people are told to take sides. Seems that today it is about divide and conquer. Jesus in fact doesn’t take sides he resolves the conflict by holding them both together. In fact it is symbolized when is says, “They both disappeared and he stands there alone.” Beautiful, Beautiful symbolism.
Jesus stand here alone holding us together as well as he did at his Transfiguration as he held the law and prophets. So no matter which side of the aisle we are on it’s Jesus that hold us together. Thanks be to God! Amen? I don’t know about you but that give me hope. A hope that God is with us!
Now Jesus only invites three up to the mountain top. Maybe they are the only three that are ready for this kind of in-depth experience. They get so excited, who wouldn’t if you had a wonderful moment of religious experience, & they wanted to permanently reside there. And in his beautifully naive way Peter says, “Let’s build three tents. I just want to stay here. I don’t want to go down the mountain top, Who would?” Then the symbolism goes even deeper, “It’s says while Jesus was still speaking. They have had this moment of light were his face shines, it is really the first moment that his divinity was revealed to them, that this is not just a man but a man-God and we got to put those two together.
But this in incomprehensible, we don’t know how to put Man and God together! So he just has to reveal to them in his very person that it is possible. Because if we don’t know it’s possible, we can’t imagine putting it together in ourselves, and that’s the whole job, for us to recognize that we also are children of this earth and children of this heaven. Sons of God and Sons of the earth. Daughters of the earth and daughter of heaven.
But as he is revealing this to them the perfect symbolism, the cloud comes over, and they became frightened. In other words spiritual things can never be perfectly or fully or totally understood. As Paul will say later, “We know only in part” so it’s half-light but it’s half cloud, you get it but you don’t get it. If only religion had only been that humble. So many people that call themselves Christians today think they get it entirely 100%. I know the whole explanation. No! We never do. As has been said many times, “People who know, people who really know, know that they don’t know.” That’s what it means to know spiritual things! To be humble about it, to know that your still in kindergarten. Who of us can understand the face of God? The mystery of love? So in the presence of this mystery that is too big for them, instead of being attracted as they were a moment before wanting to build three tents, they become frightened! And then they do hear a voice saying, “He is the one, he is putting together what you also must put together, Listen to him.” After they heard the voice Jesus is standing there alone.
They fell silent and they were told by Jesus not to talk about it. Because, you see, that I hope you all had one moment were God became real for you, I hope, otherwise most of this doesn’t make sense. I hope you know that too! It’s all just gaubulti-gook! It’s all just going through the motions. Until this all becomes real for you, and you have your moment of Transfiguration, AH! There nothing to talk about, but it get even worse, there is no point in talking about it because you can’t. Deep spiritual experience, like a profound sexual encounter or a moment of mystery in nature, words will always fall short, you can’t talk about it. To talk about it would be to cheapen it. You have to treasure it in your heart! You have to mull over it! You have to ponder over it, usually for years, to say what did that mean? What was God trying to speak to my heart?
So we read this every year to invite you into the same experience, knowing that whatever you experience, is you’ll never really be able to talk about it. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treasure it, and know that it is true.