Today's lectionary reading: Psalm 19; Exodus 19:16-25; Mark 9:2-8
Selected passage for reflection: Mark 9:2-8 (NLT)
Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus.
Peter exclaimed, “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.
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them.
As I write this, my dog is sound asleep at my feet, my kids are laughing in the next room, and I am trying to ignore the toys and mess that are scattered around me.
But every so often, in the midst of ordinary life, don’t we catch a glimpse of glory?
Peter, James, and John received more than a glimpse of glory when they were on that mountain with Jesus. We know that what they saw changed their lives forever because of how they wrote about it in other places in the Bible.
Why was this experience so life-changing?
Because what they saw, as incredible and close to unbelievable as it seems, is our reality. We live as those for whom this world is not our home. Jesus revealed to the three disciples, and, through them, to us, that something glorious is present just outside of our line of sight.
We begin Lent on Ash Wednesday. For many of us, that includes having ashes spread on our foreheads as we are told, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
For how can we see God’s glory if we are caught up in our own sense of glory and greatness? Instead we need to remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. When we keep our “earthiness” in its proper perspective, we are better able to glimpse God’s glory and greatness.
Ash Wednesday is our welcome into the season of Lent. During this time, many of us choose to sacrifice something that is important to us or commit to acts of service to others. When we do something different, when we change our routine, we remember that there is something greater than us, something greater outside our ordinary life. Those Lenten moments when we think of our sacrifice, when we consider an act of service, we are reminded God’s glory is just outside our line of sight.
I remember when my brother-in-law lent me his polarized sunglasses one summer day. Suddenly I could see the fish swimming beneath the glimmering surface of the lake. A whole world opened up to me because I put on those special lenses.
The good news is that because of Christ’s life, death, and sacrifice, we receive special lenses to view glimpses of God’s glory. Any time we pause to close our eyes to ordinary life we open our hearts to glimpses of God’s glory in the form of God’s love, compassion, forgiveness, and joy.
Just outside our line of sight, God’s glory shines. Let’s watch for glimpses of God’s glory.
Wherever you are right now, take a few moments to settle yourself into your space. Close your eyes and take some deep, cleansing breaths. Imagine yourself up on the mountain with Jesus, Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, and John. You hear God’s voice: “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” Listen carefully and quietly for Jesus’ words to you. What does Jesus want you to know today?
Glorious God, you have always given us invitations to glimpse your glory. When you met with Moses, his face glowed with your glory. You gave plans for the building of the Tabernacle and the Temple that reflect your own heavenly throne room. You revealed yourself to Elijah on the mountain and gave Elisha the sign of the fiery chariot. Then you did the unthinkable. You sent Jesus so that we could have an opportunity to see you in human form. You continue to give us glimpses of your glory in the mundanity and busyness of our ordinary lives. Today, open our eyes to your glory. Open our hearts and minds to the reality that is always just beyond the line of sight. Though we cannot see you face to face, let us hear your gentle whisper today. Amen.
About the Author
Melanie is a writer, speaker, preacher, spiritual director, and teacher. You can join her in her search for glimpses of glory on Instagram and Facebook. She has a Master of Arts in English, a Master of Divinity and a certificate in Spiritual Direction. She lives in Chicago with her four kids and her co-dependant dog.