Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

Today’s text

Matthew 17:1-7

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as dazzling as light. And suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. 'Lord,' he said, 'it is wonderful for us to be here; if you want me to, I will make three shelters here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.'  Suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and suddenly from the cloud there came a voice which said, 'This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favor. Listen to him.' When they heard this, the disciples fell on their faces, overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them, saying, 'Stand up, do not be afraid.


Listen to him. Just listen.

And what do you say to us, blessed friend? “Stand up. Do not fear.”

I fear hours of wasted study by countless preachers will yield a load of glib ax grinding against those three disciples who followed Jesus up the mountain and saw him transfigured in brilliant light.

For decades, small-minded preachers have ranted about Jesus disciples who wanted to build comfortable places for them to live up on the mountain, trying to save this experience with Jesus.

Well, why not? Why not want to be there with you, my friend, lifted above life’s routine, seeing your light and feeling the divine presence in you?

The disciples saw you as you are, one with the Loving Mystery of God, and they were filled with wonder, and yes, with fear at a voice that came from the depth of the universe naming you as eternal Son, beloved.

They wanted to stay there, but they cannot because, as the ax-wielding preachers tell us, the disciples don’t understand you cannot live on the mountain. You have to go live in the valley where life is hard.

And once again, we are told with great authority that the disciples fail to understand Jesus, and they fear the voice that tells them to listen to Jesus.

But what is missed is your divine response to human fear, Jesus. There is no denunciation, no condemnation, no call to repent, no castigation for their ignorance or failure.

There is only a touch … and assurance, “Stand up. Do not fear.”

The Holy Mystery, speaking in the cloud, commands us to listen to the voice of loving assurance, to an invitation to live beyond our fears, to live the love we know in the touch of our brother, Jesus, and the voice of his assurance.

Jesus leads his followers down the mountain into the messy cross currents of powers that seek his destruction. He goes to reveal the depth of divine love and commitment proclaimed from the cross that will kill him.

Listen to him. Listen to the word spoken in his suffering and death.

Listen to the word spoken in his resurrection, “I am with you always to the end of the age.”

Listen to him saying, in way or another, “Do not be afraid. Stand and walk.”

Stand and walk into your life knowing a great love holds you.

Stand and walk into difficult places ready to share the healing touch of Jesus.

Stand and walk with compassion into a hungry world where hurts abound.

Stand and walk with Jesus words in your heart and his touch on your soul.

Listen. Just listen to what he is saying.

Pr. David L. Miller

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