“Rabbi, said Peter, ‘it is wonderful to be here, let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
Friday, 5 March 2021
In the story of the transfiguration, we see Peter doing what he often does. He misunderstands and puts his foot in it. Peter experiences consolation as he witnesses Jesus’ transformation and conversation with Elijah and Moses. He mistakenly suggests that they make tents so that they can stay on top of the mountain and continue to live this experience.
But to live on the mountaintop is not an option. Almost immediately after they hear the voice from the cloud, the moment dissipates, and Jesus and the disciples must come down the mountain back into the challenges of their context and ministry.
We also tend to want to cling to certain experiences and ways of doing things. It can be challenging to come back from a significant retreat where we experienced God especially powerfully in prayer or from an unforgettable holiday with family and to engage again with the usual commitments of our work, family or community.
Now perhaps more than ever, as we grapple with the daily challenges of living in a pandemic, it is tough to live in the ordinary. And yet the memory of our “transfiguration” moments can give us courage and a sense of meaning and purpose at a time when our everyday lives don’t seem to make much sense. These special moments of grace – these mountain top experiences- are given to us, often before or after difficult experiences, to encourage and support us just as Jesus and the disciples were given this moment. They are not a permanent way of being but are experiences that give us hope and allow us to continue to work to bring about the values of Jesus in our own families, communities and workplaces.