There comes a time in all our lives when ‘we need to get away from it all’.
We need to find an escape when and where we can think, catch up, reflect, remain silent, un-distracted and uninterrupted. Lent is a good time to take a day away in prayer somewhere for silence, reflection, confession and new purpose, a place like Mt Melleray for example.
Today’s reading from the Gospel is about the Transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus and His closest friends take some time out together. For a moment they see Him as the Son of God in glory.
What is that reading doing in the middle of Lent you might ask? Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham points out the relevance importance and necessary contrast between the reading for the event today and that of Good Friday.
The mountain of Tabor explains the hill of Calvary and vice-versa.
The transfiguration event recalled today can only be fully understood when we pair it with Good Friday.
Here Jesus’ clothes are dazzlingly white, on Calvary He is stripped of his garments
Here He is flanked by the great Moses and Elijah, there He is flanked by two thieves
Here He is surrounded by the brightness of the cloud; there He is covered in darkness
Here He is seen in glory, there He is in agony and flecked with blood
Here He is surrounded by some faithful men when all is well, there by faithful women when all is at its worst – how often women are the ones who are silently faithful as men suffer but men-friends cannot cope and are cowards in the face of pain
Here Peter has faith; there he is in hiding and in doubt
Here God the Father’s voice declares ‘This is my Beloved Son’; on Calvary there a pagan soldier says ‘truly this man was a son of God’
Jesus is all alone on Thabor after the disappearance of Moses and Elijah - in solitude, then at Calvary is all alone on the Cross.
Here on Tabor, all is silence and solitude, there on Calvary all is clamour, violence and crowds and noise
The point is both are important events: and that just as joy and sadness fill our lives, God is present not only when things are brightest but also when things are dark – in loneliness, pain, suffering and tears. God is with us not just when things are going well and all is calm; God is equally with us when all is chaos and even seemingly meaningless.
We are urged today to Listen to Him.
Let us take time apart sometime in Lent to listen to His voice in the silence.
There we might be able to make sense of things and also face the future with faith and trust and not fear.