While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”
The disciples look on in fear, awe and confusion at what must have been a bewildering experience. They see Jesus in all his glory, brighter than any brightness they have ever seen as he conversed with Moses and Elijah, then they hear God speak from the cloud acclaiming Jesus as His beloved Son.
Jesus, who never said he was anything more than an ordinary guy from Galilee. Who never wanted a palace, never wore silks, never got his face engraved on any money. He told his friends he could teach them to fish for people. For texts, he used the fish in their nets, the sheep in their fields, the seeds farmers sowed, and yeast in a woman’s hands. And he added, his own special seasoning for the bread of their lives, a few blind men, a few lepers, a foreign woman with a sick child, a Roman centurion in despair for his dying daughter, quite a number of prostitutes and a woman who had five husbands.
Then one day, he took three of them to a high mountain to pray, and he appeared to them in a shining light. They heard the voice of God calling him his Beloved Son and telling them to ‘Listen to Him.’ However, he never asked them to see his glory. He only asked them to see his willingness to suffer, and his presence among the lowliest of them, as signs of the places and the people to which God is drawn. This is the message the disciples need to listen to.
Who are we in the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus? We are the disciples who fall to the ground, confused and fearful of the voice of God from the cloud. We are the ones who need to be touched by Christ and be told by him to not be afraid. We are the ones who desperately need to ‘Listen to Him.’ The glory of any mountain top experience is not where Jesus will go to stay. He will go down the mountain to heal the sick, and call people to follow him to the cross. Let us prepare our hearts for the journey in the valley so we can tell the story of Jesus, the Son of God, and bring healing to the sick and faint of heart who need to be touched by Him. May we ‘listen to Him and not be afraid of the journey ahead.
- Do you need to go away with Jesus to see his glory and to hear the voice of God speak to you as you prepare for this journey in the valley of service?
- How can you prepare your heart to follow Jesus down the mountain on the way to the cross?
- How can you make sure that you listen to Jesus to prepare for the valley of your ministry?
- How can Via de Cristo prepare us for life in the valley?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.