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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, August 8, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 9:2–8

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. (NRSV)

Have you ever had a moment that you wanted to hold onto forever? That’s what Peter, James, and John wanted to do. Jesus had taken them up a high mountain so that they could be apart from the world, and this unbelievable thing happened. Before their eyes, Jesus was transfigured—completely changed. His clothes became whiter than white, a white they had never seen before. And then if that wasn’t enough, Elijah and Moses appeared and were talking with Jesus. Elijah and Moses would have been like celebrities to the disciples, autograph-worthy. The whole experience was one of awe, and they wanted it to last forever, so they suggested to Jesus that they build three dwellings: one for Jesus, one for Elijah and one for Moses. It was their solution to holding onto an unbelievable and inexplicable experience of the divine.

We want to hold onto those experiences, too. Profound glimpses of God in our lives. Times of joy that seem out of the ordinary, making our feet want to skip. A beautiful sunrise or sunset. An amazing experience of talking with a friend about something very hard and being unexpectedly understood and met. But those experiences are fleeting, just as that experience on the mountaintop was fleeting.

What wasn’t fleeting was that once it was all over and the cloud that had descended was lifted, Jesus was still there. That’s what is true still today—that no matter how fleeting the awe-filled experiences are, or no matter how much we don’t seem to understand about the divine, the fact is that Jesus is still there, still with us, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.

Lord of lords, be with us in our letting go. For you know how we struggle to do so. Take our hands and lead us into the world to be blessing, always knowing that you are God’s beloved Son. Amen.

Written by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

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