The story of the Transfiguration is one of my favorites in all of Scripture—and it’s the Gospel reading for the second Sunday of Lent. Lucky me: in my church tradition, we celebrate the Transfiguration of Jesus on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday (other traditions celebrate Transfiguration on August 6), which means I get to read and live with this story twice in two weeks!
What I love most about this story is that it gives the disciples—and us—a glimpse of what is really, truly real. When Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on Mount Tabor to pray, the appearance of his face changes and his clothes become dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appear with him in glory. This is how and who he truly is–the second Person of the Trinity, who transcends time and space, who exists from the beginning in glory.
In Luke’s version of the story, the disciples are half-asleep as Jesus prays through the night. I love this little detail, too, because isn’t that how it feels sometimes as you go through your day—or your life? Like you’re only partly present and the rest of you is somewhere else? Asleep, maybe, or daydreaming or figuring out how you’re going to fit it all in (whatever “it” is).
Only when the disciples fully awaken do they see Jesus in his glory, a glory that is his from before time, but which has been veiled from their sight until this moment when they finally see him as he truly is. Jesus hasn’t changed, not really, but the disciples’ vision of him has. For the first time, they see truly.
Lent invites us to strip away the things that keep us half-asleep as we live our lives, particularly (for us hyper Americans) the busyness, crammed schedules, and rushing that often blind us to what’s right in front of us. Instead, Lent invites us to slow down, look around, pay attention, see. Who knows? When we do, maybe we’ll receive a glimpse of God’s glory, too.
So: how are you going to make space to see?
Read it yourself:
The lectionary readings for the second Sunday of Lent:
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16