There is (excuse the vernacular) a heck of a lot going on in this week’s Gospel reading from Mark Chapter 9 verses 2 to 9.
Christ has promised (Mark 9 v 1) that his disciples will see in their time,
“…the Kingdom of God arrive in full force”. (The Message).
He then takes his three closest followers James, John and Peter up a mountain, where he (Christ) is physically, literally transformed, transfigured. The Message paraphrase of the Gospel puts it like this…
“His appearance changed from the inside out….His clothes shimmered, glistening white, whiter than any bleach could make them.” (Mark 9 v 2 to 4).
To top of this mountaintop experience, the three bedazzled disciples see Christ in conversation with Moses and Elijah. The two most revered Old Testament prophets within Judaism.
Canon Patrick Comerford writing about the transfiguration of Christ notes the following…
“We could say the Transfiguration is the culmination of Christ’s public life, just as his Baptism is its starting point and his Ascension its end”. (www.patrickcomerford.com)
And, as at his Baptism, the account of the Transfiguration sees the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit together in real time and indeed for all time.
The mountaintop has become holy, holy ground.
As noted, there is a heck of a lot going on here. So much so, that (impulsive as ever) maybe even with the best intent in the world, or maybe, simply, in trying to get his head around what he was witnessing; Peter offers to capture the moment by building shelters. One for Jesus, Moses and Elijah as if to preserve the Transfiguration or at least prolong it.
I do so like Peter.
This Gospel whilst rightly focusing on Jesus as Patrick Comerford notes at “..the culmination of Christ’s public life…”, sees Peter in his raw humanity unsure and unnerved as to how to respond.
He is overwhelmed…by God.
He is confused…by God.
He does his best to make sense of God, has to respond practically and do something and decides to “build shelters” for Christ and the prophets.
He doesn’t quite get the “shock and awe” of the Transfiguration and his need just to experience it.
And neither do I or will I until (I trust) come the resurrection or Christ’s return to establish His rule.
The Transfiguration of Christ. The shock and awe of God’s full revelation in the person of Jesus.
Which maybe should call from each of us, awe, wonder and quite possibly a little less dogmatism a little less doing and a lot more wonder.
Picture courtesy of @savbrown