O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979 for the Feast of the Transfiguration
“[G]rant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world”… Yes, please! I would love to be delivered from the disquietude, the anxiety, the unease, of this world. Want to come up with me to the mountain for just a little bit?
I don’t need to tell you that this year has been hard. As a working parent with three little ones (6, 4, and 10 months), we’ve had our fair share of disquietude these past few months. The invitation Jesus gives to Peter, James, and John sounds like balm to my soul: “Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.” Sign me up. While I adore my family (truly I do), I honestly haven’t found many quiet moments these past few months to go “up to the mountain to pray.” My prayers have been on the stairs between feeding the family lunch and headed up to lead Zoom Bible study, or when I take the dog out to do her business, or between when my head hits the pillow and when I fall asleep. Those have been my quiet moments as of late.
And yet, on that mountain top, Jesus, Peter, John, and James have a holy experience. We hear in the Gospel of Luke,
“The appearance of [Jesus’] face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’ —not knowing what he said.”
Today, we hear of the transfiguration of our Lord, the glory of Jesus on the mountain top. Honestly, can you blame Peter for wanting to stay? Up on that mountain, they saw the glory of the Lord, they saw Moses and Elijah. They wanted to stay there in that glorious (literally, glorious) moment. I totally get that feeling. Do you?
For me, I am not able to find God right now in some earth-shattering mountain top moment. Those moments are amazing and holy and glorious, and I would love to be having that experience. However, right now, I am finding the glory of the Lord in the smaller moments, in the moments when I am weighed down by sleep but able to stay awake anyway. For example, when I see our baby pulling the dog’s hair, and our dog chooses not to nip at the baby but licks him instead. Or, when my older boys are making art projects, and out of the blue, want to share them with our elderly neighbors to brighten their day. Or, when my husband saves the last piece of pie for me, knowing how much I love it.
Likely, none of these moments taken alone are all that glorious to someone other than me. And yet, I can see the glory of the Lord, the love of God shining through the dog’s licks, the boy’s sharing, the warmth of the last slice of pie. And for me, for today, that’s the transfiguration I need to see and feel. The glory of the Lord is shining through the disquiet of this world, for me, it is in small, loving ways. That is where I get the chance to, as the collect says “by faith behold the King in his beauty”. The beauty of the Lord in our everyday life is glorious. There is light shining in the midst of the disquiet of our world. The trick is for us to keep awake so we can see it.
Where can you see the glory of the Lord shining today?
Where can you share the love of God with someone today?
[Image Credit: A piece of raspberry pie on a white plate with a fork. Top view by Marco Verch under Creative Commons 2.0]