If you could talk for an hour to any one person past, present, or future who would you choose? This was the introductory question at a meeting I recently attended. Stop for a minute to think. Who would you choose?
I decided that I would like to meet my great grandchildren. Most people named an ancestor who immigrated to the United States. A few named past or present leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. Who would you choose?
While this was a hypothetical question to our group, we find it happens to Jesus in our Gospel for the week—Luke 9: 28-36. Peter, James, John go with Jesus up the mountain to pray. As Jesus was praying, his appearance changed. Suddenly two people appear with Jesus—two beloved leaders from the past—Moses and Elijah.
As good Jews, the disciples certainly knew about Moses—leader of the great escape from slavery in Egypt across the Red Sea and desert to the Promised Land. Certainly they knew of the great prophet Elijah who spoke out against false gods urging Israel to worship the one true God. They knew Elijah was carried to heaven in a flaming chariot. I do wonder though how they recognized these heroes of faith who lived centuries earlier.
Luke 9:31 says, “They [Moses and Elijah] appeared in glory and were speaking of his [Jesus’] departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” Maybe Jesus needed this mountain top community, this time of worship, this time to ask questions to prepare for his journey to the cross. Maybe the disciples needed the voice from God saying: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”
We read the story of Transfiguration (means change in appearance) each year the Sunday before Lent begins. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl-6pTDa1yU
Jesus and the disciples needed to be strengthened for the journey to Jerusalem. We too need community, support, and prayer for our daily journey. We too are transformed when we encounter God through worship, everyday experiences, hanging out with friends, or those unexpected holy moments. We too can bring our big questions to God.
As we prepare for the 40 days of Lent, try one of more of these ideas:
• Decide how you need to be strengthened for your life journey; then do it.
• Connect with faith community regularly.
• Talk about a life challenge with a trusted friend.
• Find a way to listen to Jesus—prayer, Bible reading,
• Think about which person from the past or present you would like to meet. Learn more about them. Give thanks for their impact on you and the world.
For fun enjoy this video with Steven Colbert asking some big questions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjAb498Ax60