February 14, 2012 § 1 Comment
On the Christian calendar, this coming Sunday is called Transfiguration Sunday. It marks the end of the season of Epiphany (and with that, all the celebrations around the birth and early ministry of Jesus since Advent and Christmas) while leading us into the season of Lent that begins next week with Ash Wednesday. Transfiguration Sunday refers to the episode in Mark 9:2-9 where Peter, James and John join Jesus on the mountain top. The three disciples were the witnesses of how Jesus “was transfigured before them” when he became radiant, spoke with Moses and Elijah, and called “my Son” by a voice from the sky (9:2, 7). These disciples’ response is understandable: when encountered by something beyond their reckoning, their first inclination is to do something. They thought the appropriate response would be to build three shelters for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah (9:5). But God wanted something else first. He wanted them to first listen to his Son (9:7). It is difficult not to automatically follow our own agendas that we have designed out of good intentions to be thankful for what God has done for us, but to rather listen carefully to what God is up to. If we do that in the context of Mark’s gospel, we will understand that this story of transfiguration comes in the midst of Jesus’ predictions that He must suffer, be rejected, and be killed on a cross (8:31). As a consequence, God wants us to also take up our crosses and to follow Him in similar fashion of self-denial and service of others.