Labeling the Impossible (February 16, 2012)

…Opening To…

I caught a glimpse of Your splendor in the corner of my eye the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. And it was like a flash of lightning reflected off the sky, and I know I’ll never be the same. (Third Day, “Show Me Your Glory”)

…Listening In…

Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice spoke from the cloud, “This is my Son, whom I dearly love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7; context)

…Filling Up…

You could store Jesus’ other miracles in a box and refuse to believe the horizon between God and humanity is more permeable than was originally thought. But this, this transfiguration, this holy event Peter witnesses with his own eyes would never fit in the box, no matter how precisely he might have constructed those three tents.

And why not? In this event, Jesus doesn’t change. He is neither better nor more holy than he was before. But Peter, James, and John are granted the gift of seeing Jesus as God sees him – dazzlingly bright and beloved. The Greek word we translate as “Transfiguration” has been transmitted directly into our own language. The English equivalent is metamorphosis, a complete change in form or shape. So, in this transfiguration, what changes, if not Jesus?

Until the mountaintop, the disciples had seen some things, some miracles, and they thought they understood them. But their small understanding was dangerous because it amounted to just enough to create an unwarranted category labeled “impossible.” In this category, in this box, they stored everything that ran counter to what they thought they knew about the world. They were terrified of the walking on water. Their hearts were hardened about the multiplied loaves. “Who then is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” And yet, Jesus did all these things, and he couldn’t care less what they labeled “impossible.”

The change, the metamorphosis, that occurs on the mountaintop happens when Peter fails to begin his construction of the three tents. A cloud overshadows the disciples, and they hear a voice: “This is my Son, whom I dearly love. Listen to him!” Then, all of sudden, they look around and the horizon is back to normal. But nothing would ever be “normal” again. (to be concluded tomorrow…)

…Praying For…

Dear God, in the Transfiguration, you changed the way Jesus’ friends saw him. Help me to look at the world through these same eyes, so that I can see your hand at work around me. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, knowing that with you all things are possible.

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