The Transfiguration is a tricky thing to talk about. Even scholars have trouble deciphering exactly what it means. What we do know, and what David pointed us towards in his talk this past Sunday, is that the Transfiguration as described in the gospel reading is a picture of Peter and two other ordinary guys experiencing the presence and the glory of God revealed in and through Jesus.
We see Jesus in all his glory, light emanating from him and wearing clothes whiter than any earthly bleach could bleach them. And not only that, but he’s having a conversation with Elijah and Moses— long-gone heroes of the faith. Then they hear the voice of God (which they knew from their experience at Jesus’ baptism) tell them once again that this is the Son of God, and to listen to him. It’s hard toimagine what it would feel like to have an experience like that, but we get a a bit of an idea from Peter’s response when he says in Mark 9:5-6, “‘Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified.”
When we have an experience with God where it feels like he’s right there with us, I’m sure we all want the same thing: to memorialize that moment forever. To remember the times where he felt closer than our skin. It’s not all the time that we feel that way, so we do our best to remember those times and draw peace from them. The truth is, we don’t have to just remember the presence of God, but we can seek the presence of God every day.Peter recounts his time on the mountain in 2 Peter 1 where he says:
“We saw it with our own eyes: Jesus resplendent with light from God the Father as the voice of Majestic Glory spoke: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of all my delight.” We were there on the holy mountain with him. We heard the voice out of heaven with our very own ears. We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard—God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts.” (MSG)
Jesus, the Light of the world, has given us his word and his presence to brighten up the dark times. He’s given us a chance to experience his presence and be changed by it. If there’s anything we can take away from the story of the transfiguration, it’s that God’s presence is important. Remember the times when he was with you, and seek to experience his presence more and more today.