Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gospel Text for Sunday, 19 February 2012

Mark 9:2-9
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.

As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

1 comment:

  1. When was the last time you heard yourself talking and thought, “Oh dear, would someone please turn off this faucet!” I believe it happens to all of us, it certainly does to me. More often than not words leap out when I am caught by surprise, startled, shocked or terrified. And sometimes it goes the other way. Instead of blattering on in the face of awe or anxiety I am dumbfounded, speechless, virtually paralyzed, kick-dropped smack into the middle of the dark cloud of unknowing.

    So as I read about Peter’s proposal to build alpine dwellings for two dead men and his friend Jesus, I’m not entirely surprised. And when everyone on that mountaintop ends up in the dark cloud, it makes good sense to me. Nowhere in the Bible have I found directions describing what to do when having an awe inspiring, terrifying, mountaintop religious experience. (Haven’t found it in the self-help section of the library either).We are in the dark when it comes to knowing how to respond to God when God reveals God’s self to us.

    I believe we do, however, have one Biblical role model (other than Jesus) for how to respond to God when God calls; Mary, the mother of Jesus. In an ordinary place on an ordinary afternoon an Angel of the Lord (which is Bible-speak for a Revelation of God) appeared to the young Middle Eastern woman Mary. Unlike her cousin Elizabeth’s husband Zachariah the priest who was terrified and so overwhelmed by fear that evening in the temple when he encountered an Angel of the Lord that he ended up speechless for nine months, young Mary engaged her Angel with grace. She was perplexed by the Angel’s words, “Greetings favored one, the Lord is with you,” so she paused and wondered what the greeting meant. Then with confidence she engaged the Angel and asked, “How can this be?” Not until she received a detailed explanation did Mary give her full consent to the Lord, “Let it be with me according to your word.” (You will have to read the first chapter of Luke’s gospel to find this story. Mark writes nothing about it).

    In a simple yet profound way Mary understood herself to be a “servant of the Lord.” I imagine she put her faith in the Angel’s words that “Nothing is impossible for God.” By putting her faith in God rather than herself she could find her will in God’s will and give her whole hearted consent to the impossible notion that God was with her and would be born through her.