Oh God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
As the season of Epiphany comes to a close, we begin to turn our hearts towards the penitential season of Lent. It is a time in which we, as Christians, are invited to take inventory of our spiritual lives and hit the pause button when it comes to life as we know it. As a child, this was an intentional process of corporate and self-reflection. It was a time of discipline and prayer. We would eliminate worldly distractions and, as a family, take on spiritual exercises that were meant to grow us closer to each other and closer to God. It was a practical way to focus on loving God and loving others.
In the story of the transfiguration (Mark 9:2-9), Jesus made it a point to take James, John and Peter with Him atop the holy mountain. It was both a corporate and individual moment of revelation. By revealing His true essence of glory, Jesus invited them in to the most intimate part of Himself. It was a holy and sacred moment bursting forth with light and drawing them into a deeper sense of who He really was. This was His purpose. It was a sign of what was to come. For Jesus, the light itself could no longer be contained.
Lent is a time to grow closer to the light. It gives us a chance to throw off that which keeps us from Him so we can grow more and more into His likeness. Lent is a journey to that same mountaintop where we can re-engage with the One who desires nothing more than our time and our attention. It gives us a chance to escape the world as we know it and enter into a space designed for His glory. It is an opportunity to rediscover the transformative nature of His love.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing Spirit.” (Psalm 51: 10-12 NRSV)
“Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them…”