Dear St. Luke Family,
This Sunday, our Scripture passage will be Mark’s version of the highly symbolic story called the Transfiguration. Mark’s account is nearly identical to those in Matthew and Luke. Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a mountain, where his face is transformed and his clothes become dazzling white. Then Moses and Elijah appear, representing the Law and the Prophets. Peter suggests they capture this Kodak moment by setting up three tents. But the gospel writer tells us Peter doesn’t get it. God announces from a cloud, “This is my Son, my Beloved. Listen to him.”
Listen to him. This sounds easy enough, right? One commentator writes, “I like the fact that God doesn’t say, ‘Become exactly like Jesus,’ or ‘Take up your cross.’ Just, ‘Listen to him.’ Now, see, that’s something I can probably do. I can do that. I can listen. That’s something we can all do.”
But – maybe it’s not as easy as it sounds. Think about listening to someone who contradicts some of your treasured beliefs. Think of something you feel very strongly about, something you don’t want to let go. Think of our current political climate. “Real listening,” said Alan Alda, “is a willingness to let the other person change you.”
The Transfiguration, and the season of Lent which follows it, is all about change. For centuries, Lent has been the season when we focus with new energy on the process of transfiguration that happens over the lifetime of a person of faith. Our theme this Lent, which begins this coming Wednesday, February 17, is “The Lenten Journey.” Our congregation is in the middle of a transition, one kind of journey, and Lent is often referred to as a journey, as well. During Lent, we will explore how these two journeys might intersect. On Wednesday, you’re invited to begin the journey of Lent at our Zoom Ash Wednesday service. The 7:00 p.m. service will be about half an hour long, and as we can’t meet in person, it won’t involve ashes. It will be an opportunity to begin thinking about what a Lenten journey might mean this year for you personally and for St. Luke.
If Lent is a journey, that means at the end of Lent we should expect to find ourselves somewhere different than where we started. The end of Lent is always Easter. The end is new life.
Grace and peace,