Today we read the story of the Transfiguration. I often wonder why the Apostles were so surprised by what they saw on that mountain. They discovered – beyond, behind and within – the Man they had known for so long. It was a moment of insight.
But what took them so long? Why were they so surprised?
They had been with Jesus for three years. They heard Him preach, teach, work miracles, raise the dead. They heard the voice of God at His baptism.
But only in this instance did they become fully aware of God’s glory. Sometimes we can be like that. God is always working in and around us, yet we miss His movement in our lives. I’ve witnessed extraordinary events in peoples’ lives – events that cannot be explained. Most of the time, however, they are considered to be coincidence or chance. Rarely are they seen as God at work.
In fact, there are certain things designed to keep our minds closed. Like prejudice, which makes us so set in our own ideas that our minds are shut. We can call ourselves Christian, go to church every week, but tune out those around us.
And, we sometimes fail to act like Christians. Society puts an enormous amount of pressure on us to focus our vision, our energy, our drive on the pursuit of a career. On celebrity status; a bigger car; a bigger house; the large office. We end up giving our attention to these things with such total devotion that we become insensitive to deeper realities.
So many people do not allow themselves to become transformed. They are so absorbed in what advances them that they become blind to those around them, even those closest to them. They simply do not see there are times when they should drop everything and embrace their loved ones. Hug their spouse, their children; help their friends; carry the starving to a feeding center. Such insights are transfigurations, but they aren’t possible if we are only focused on the immediate; focused the here and now.
You might be missing some transfiguring moments. I suppose that one of the reasons we come to church is to recover our sense of vision. To not be blinded by the wrong things – not bad things, just things that aren’t important and simply don’t deserve that much dedication and devotion.
We come to church to celebrate the God we’ve bumped into all week without even knowing it; to handle the Word and the Bread, and to realize that such common things harbor the very presence of God.
And, to discover the splendor of what might be there if we take the time to look.