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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
February 25, 2006

Six days later, three of them did see it. Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes.
     His clothes shimmered, glistening white, whiter than any bleach could make them.
     Elijah, along with Moses, came into view, in deep conversation with Jesus.
     Peter interrupted, “Rabbi, this is a great moment! Let's build three memorials—one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah.”
     He blurted this out without thinking, stunned as they all were by what they were seeing.
     Just then a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and from deep in the cloud, a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love. Listen to him.”
     The next minute the disciples were looking around, rubbing their eyes, seeing nothing but Jesus, only Jesus.
     Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy. “Don't tell a soul what you saw. After the Son of Man rises from the dead, you're free to talk.”

Mark 9:2-9 (Message*)

This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday. The transfiguration story is hard to parse for most people today because it uses a specific literary style with which we are not familiar, and many things which would have come to mind for Jews in that day do not come to mind for many of us today. There are many things communicated in this story, some difficult for us to grasp and some which should be easier.

Let me focus on just one thing we can get out of this story. Peter sought to capture the moment and keep it, through the means of building three memorials (tabernacles, shelters, booths or tents in other translations). This misses the point. This is a moment intended to lead them on. The disciples need to avoid being stuck in the moment, but rather do what is being pointed to - listening to what Christ is telling them about how to live.

Do we get caught up in “mountaintop experiences” and try to stay in them, rather than moving on to a transformed life? Do we really listen to Christ, grasping what we are being told and being obedient to it?

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2006 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 04-Mar-2006 18:48:45 EST