Six day later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain where they were alone. He was transformed in front of them, and his clothes were amazingly bright, brighter than if they had been bleached white. Elijah and Moses appeared and were talking with Jesus. Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good that we’re here. Let’s make three shrines – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” He said this because he didn’t know how to respond, for the three of them were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed the, and a voice spoke from the cloud, “This is my Son, whom I dearly love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them not to tell anyone what they had seen until after the Human One had risen from the dead.
~ Mark 9:2-9
Notice the concrete elements in this mystical event: Jesus and the three disciples climb a mountain to pray. As Jesus prays, his face is transformed and his clothes appear as dazzling light. Moses and Elijah appear and speak to Jesus. A cloud envelopes them and a voice tells them to listen to Jesus, God’s beloved, chosen One. God uses real, concrete things to reveal Jesus Christ glorified.
~ The Spiritual Formation Bible
Christ upon the mountain peak,
stands alone in glory blazing;
let us, if we dare to speak,
with the saints and angels praise him; Alleluia!
Swift the cloud of glory came,
God proclaiming in its thunder
Jesus as the Son by name!
Nations, cry aloud in wonder.
~ Brian Wren
It is as strange a scene as there is in the Gospels. Even without the voice from the cloud to explain it, they had no doubt what they were witnessing. It was Jesus of Nazareth all right…but it was also the Messiah, the Christ, in his glory. It was the holiness of the man shining through his humanness, his face so afire with it they were almost blinded.
~ Frederick Buechner
Holy God, upon the mountain you revealed our Messiah, who by his death and resurrection would fulfill both the law and the prophets. By his transfiguration enlighten our path that we may dare to suffer with him in the service of humanity and so share in the everlasting glory of him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever. Amen.
~ Laurence Hull Stookey
O wondrous sight! O vision fair
of glory that the church shall share,
which Christ upon the mountain shows,
where brighter than the sun he glows!
~ Sarum Breviary trans. by John Mason Neale
These reflections are for use during the week of February 14-20, 2021 and based on the lectionary for February 14.
Joyce D. Sohl
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.