Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain. 2 He was transformed in front of them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.
3 Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus. 4 Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good that we’re here. If you want, I’ll make three shrines: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, look, a bright cloud overshadowed them. A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!” 6 Hearing this, the disciples fell on their faces, filled with awe.
7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anybody about the vision until the Human One is raised from the dead.”
I met with some clergy friends yesterday, and one of them was telling me about a big project her congregation just completed. Years ago, they had a very active and full choir and that choir sat in this boxed off area in the chancel (which is the front area of a sanctuary). But that choir dwindled away, and that choir loft area, no longer being used as a space to sing praises to God, became a dumping ground for things in the church that no-one knew what to do with: music stands, speakers, old hymnals that are falling apart but no one can bring themselves to get rid of, papers upon papers. What once was filled with worship for God, had transformed into a place cluttered with stuff.
She didn’t want that to be how their space of worship was used. She wanted to clear away the clutter and make room for a space where God was to be worshipped again. So, after much work, she proudly showed me images of the walls of the loft taken down, and a beautiful new communion altar set up in its place. It once again sang praises to God, just in a new way that reflected the community as it now was, not how it once was. Instead of clutter, it was now a table for people to gather.
In this text of the transfiguration, we see this miracle of the significance of change, and how Peter, like many of us, immediately tried to fill a space for God with clutter, with stuff. Instead, Jesus is just asking Peter, James, and John to just allow room for God – no need for shrines.
As we spend our last day before the season of Lent begins – we are invited to approach this time similarly. We are invited to be open to where God is at work, and to clear the clutter for God to be God.
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Between the pancakes and celebrations of Shrove Tuesday, take some time today to actively invite the Holy Spirit into this season of Lent. What clutter needs to be cleared for God?
Prayer: Holy Lord, forgive us for our shrines, for the things we think we need but are actually just taking up space and distracting from where You are transforming lives. Work Your holy miracles this Lent. Amen.