Lk 9:28-36 As Jesus prayed, the aspect of his face was changed.
“…Moses and Elijah appearing in glory.”
“When I read these words first came an emotion then a thought; both led me into prayer.
I first felt deeply touched at this gift given to the three apostles: the kindness behind the gift, the deep compassion for what they would soon go through, the strengthening for the lives ahead of them and the teaching inherent in the vision.
I then wondered about Jesus’ regular prayer when he went into the hills to pray alone. I had always supposed he went to communicate with his Father. Did he meet others, too, who encouraged him during those hours?
I was led to pray that Jesus would always prepare ahead of me the place where I meet Him, the Father, in prayer and that he would open my eyes and my ears in that place to absorb whatever communication Heaven had for me. I prayed it for us all but especially for all involved in the conflict in Ukraine, that they would know Jesus was with them; that he would lead them to find himself in their hearts; that eyes and ears would be opened, the glory of God be seen in the darkest places.
God bless each of you, keep you safe and close to him.
‘While he was praying, His face changed its appearance.’
“This is my Son, whom I have chosen – listen to Him!”
I was first led to the former sentence. I imagined Jesus and how his whole being was transformed whilst He was talking to His Father, our Father, in Heaven. How could it not be? I then thought about how and when I pray and how different the experience can be. Sometimes I am very conscious of being in God’s presence and that is when I really speak to Him as though He were in the room with me and words come easily and I feel calm and relaxed and safe. At other times my praying can be repetitive, set prayers that I say without really thinking about them and the experience is so different, so incomplete and I don’t feel any different. This is a lesson for me in how to pray. When I pray, I must pray with intensity and feeling to really speak to God.
The second sentence was similar in that sometimes I feel like I have heard God speaking to me and sometimes I don’t. There is so much ‘stuff’ going on in my head, so much pain and suffering for so many people in the world. Life can be very difficult and it can take up too much space. The lesson here for me is that I must be transported to my own Mount Tabor, to a place of peace, silence and tranquillity to be able to really listen to what Jesus is saying to me.
God bless. Keep praying for Ukraine and Russia.
Verse 28 = went up to a mountain to pray.
When I see photographs of magnificent vistas from the summit of a mountain they always inspire me. I was fortunate enough when I was in my forties to climb up the hundred highest peaks in the Lake District. Thankfully in those days I didn’t have an iPhone. I relied on a camera to take wonderful photographs. Once I took them I would sit for long periods just marvelling at the beautiful creation of God. I just felt so close and thankful to our creator. I would be like a young child and couldn’t wait to get them developed. I still look at them and reflect on the majesty of his creation. Sitting quietly and observing nature brings me closer to our wonderful God.
As Jesus prayed he was transformed and appeared in his glory. This made me think of how many times in the Gospels it is mentioned that Jesus is found in prayer.
What does this say about my own prayer life?
I ask myself how prayer changes me, how it has changed me throughout the years of my life so far. I am humbled at this gift of prayer, where I am invited to join Jesus in prayer.
This morning at first light I went outside to have my quiet time. The birds were singing, the breeze was brushing my face and as the sun rose the light was dazzling. The perfect spot to begin my day. But there were niggling fears and I opened my daily reader and read ‘Instead of approaching the day as a blank page to fill up, try living it in a responsive mode, being on the lookout for all that I am doing.’ So I stopped and looked and became present to the beauty that surrounded me. At that moment I was awakened again to His abundant love. As we shared that moment together I knew that I had nothing to fear and as long as I keep Him close to me all will be well.
As I write this I acknowledge my gratitude for all that I have. I wonder if there are those in the Ukraine at this moment who are thinking about this passage. I pray that they might catch a glimpse of Jesus ministering to their broken hearts and lay their fear at his feet. May their faith in Him who has all power be strengthened and may they be given the courage to face whatever the day may bring.
Moses – the Law: Elijah – the Prophets, discussing Jesus’s imminent departure, his exodus, from Jerusalem.
Much to occupy the mind, but the words that speak to me are, “This is my son, the beloved, the chosen one; listen to him”.
And it is vital to listen to him, through the fog of 2000 years of well-meaning but sometimes-faulty translation and interpretation.
Listen to him, because our lives depend on hearing his message and living it.
Up the mountain to pray
Firstly the climb of the mountain must have made the disciples very tired. They must have rested and slept while Jesus prayed. I wonder why Jesus wasn’t tired, maybe his closeness to God made him really physically strong. It is obvious that His prayer time was always of the utmost importance to Him. For us too, when we pray we are connected to God, we draw our strength from Him, and miracles happen, even if it’s just a change in mindset that happens. We feel lifted, refreshed and whole. Thank you Lord that we too can radiate your glory to others.
Normally I have some trouble imagining myself in a Gospel scene; though today it was exceptionally easy.
I walked up a huge mountain with the disciples, following Jesus. That should had been done with some breaks to recover on the way. Were the disciples trying to guess why so far and so high? Were they imagining something unusual was going on? I definitely would have. I guess they had to start the walk some hours before to arrive at the summit with a minimal light still. And then darkness; though I am not so sure; the sky would had been full with stars. Nevertheless, it had to be a shock seeing Jesus covered in radiant dazzling light, surely?
Then, all of a sudden, two more people appeared, easily identifiable, Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and Prophets, both joining in. AWE!!! That would be my reaction. Not surprisingly, the disciples, felt great before such a impressing scenario, and said ‘It is wonderful to be here’; because it was.
Without time to think, the apparition of the cloud and the voice signalling the presence of God in the mountain would have left me in AWE again – and in Fear too. The association of this scene with the story of Mosses in front of the burning tree and God speaking of the sacredness of the place wouldn’t have escaped the disciples either.
Furthermore, the Voice of God saying ‘this is my Son, the Chosen, the Beloved… Listen to Him’, must have left the disciples, as myself, truly astonished.
Yet, when all this magnificent vision disappeared, wouldn’t the disciples have questioned themselves asking if what they had witnessed was unreal, like a dream, or would it be another astonishing miracle surrounding Jesus? I would have been in silence too, trying to make sense of the amazing lived experience.
Walking the mountain down, I would have wondered why Jesus didn’t want us to tell anything, yet. One thing would have stuck in my head, ‘Listen to Him’.
Later, revising all the scenes, I would had realised that the experience was also a metaphor of the life of prayer. We feel at times jubilant; at times we even feel fear, in particular when we have done something wrong. Sometimes Jesus is very visible and before our eyes; at other times we don’t see Him, though His presence is always noticeable. At times we go high, at times we go down. The permanent thing is always the loving presence of God by us.
Prayer is not to change the mind of God according to our wishes, but to transform us into what God wants us to be.
Thank you Father, for always being there for me, in the good and in the bad times. Please, Holy Spirit, help me be the person you wants me to be.
In Jesus Name I pray.
A Prayer of the Transfiguration
Lord, you revealed your glory to the Apostles on the holy mountain.
Open our eyes that we may see the glory you reveal to us in the simple ways of life.
Open our ears that we may hear your voice and listen to you.
Open our mouths that we may proclaim your good news.
Open our hearts that we might love you more.
We ask this through Jesus Christ Our Lord.