Reflection on the Lectionary Sunday 19th February (Sunday before Lent)

Psalm 2; Exodus 24 : 12–18; 2 Peter 1 : 16-21;

Matthew 17 : 1 – 6

by Local Preacher Alison Smith  (St.Andrew’s)

Imagine I am an onlooker and I’m watching the three disciples, Peter, James, John and Jesus as they climbed the mountain; lots of amazing things have happened on mountains – the ten commandments, the Beatitudes of Jesus to name but two, so who knows what might happen this time.

It was a steep climb when the three went with Jesus and by the time they got to the top they were all breathing a bit more heavily and perhaps even had aching limbs – I know I would have done, but then I’m probably not as fit as they were.

When they stopped, the disciples seemed to stand back, I don’t know why, there was nothing to see, but Jesus took a step forward and started glowing! I know! It sounds weird but truly, that’s what happened, He looked like a bright star, He seemed to change from a solid form, He was hard to look at, His face was shining brighter than any sun I’ve ever seen; and His clothes, they were getting brighter too – they were whiter than anything I’ve ever seen in my life, they were as white as the light.

And then, it’s very hard to imagine, to say, what happened – you had to be there really – but what I saw then was, there seemed to be three people; yes I know the disciples were with Him but apart from them there seemed to be two others with Jesus. I had to look twice but the

people, men with Him, were Moses and Elijah! They were there talking with Jesus, as alive as you and me, there on the mountain, together!

I couldn’t believe my eyes, although it was happening in front of me, and I have said already that amazing things happen on mountains.

It seemed funny to me that he should suggest that, why would they need a shelter? And for them to have one each. The disciples would have had to have built three! Maybe he just wanted to normalise the moment. While Peter was speaking a cloud appeared – it was quite frightening the way it appeared so quickly, out of nowhere, there on the mountain – nowhere else just there. It’s dangerous to be on the mountain when it’s cloudy, anything could happen and accidents weren’t rare, but this cloud was different. This cloud was so bright, so bright I could hardly look at it and I saw the others covering their eyes from its brightness – then it spoke! A voice came from the cloud – a loud, commanding but kind voice that said, “This is my son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” Well, it scared the daylights out of all of us I think, because the disciples fell face down on the ground terrified. Next thing I saw was Jesus going over to them and one by one touched them very gently on the shoulder telling them to get up and not to be afraid. Why do people tell us not to be afraid when we’re in a situation where there’s no other emotion to experience but fear When I’d got over that shock and looked again at the scene there was only Jesus and the three disciples. Moses and Elijah had gone.

God of time and eternity, all heaven praises you.
Accept our praise for all we’ve known of you and for all you’ve yet to show us.
Help us to acknowledge all your miracles, big and small and to be amazed at all that you accomplish,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen