“Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?” (James 4:1)

The Sunday’s Transfiguration gospel reading from Luke mentions that “Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him” (Luke 9:32). The passages in Luke reveal how Jesus was not really heard. As it was difficult for a sleepy Peter and his companions to really heard Jesus, a sleeping church today need a wake-up call in such a time the divided world need it most. The church today like the disciples can read from the Scripture how Jesus tells his disciples that He will suffer, be rejected, be killed, and on the third day raised from the dead. The disciples heard these words just as the church is hearing today, but do not understand, ‘always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth’ (2 Tim 3:7). Failure of the church is better explained with the failure of our political class (Rom 10:14).

In their ignorance and pride, the disciples’ misunderstanding is revealed when Peter, eager to please, offers to make three dwellings for the three prophets – one for Jesus, one for Moses, one for Elijah. Peter missed the point of the Transfiguration just as the world and the church are missing the call to scriptural holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. Christian life is a sort of missional ascent, ‘venturing further and further up the mountain, to worship and adore the transfigured Christ and, in so doing, to be transfigured ourselves.’  A transfigured preacher or politician will listen and operate through the lens and perspective of God’s word.  Transfiguration in global darkness of sin and war as a preface to 2022 Preface to Lent is a wake-up call to experience God’s divine glory in a profound way thereby strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ transfiguration in global darkness through the eyes of faith points to the story of a new covenant established only in JESUS CHRIST and symbolised by the Cross of Calvary.

Preface to 2022 Lent as a pointer to Transfiguration in global conflict, wars, and darkness summons us to listen to the words of Jesus. Jesus’ transfiguration experience serves as an announcement to the disciples that Jesus had to suffer on the Cross. Jesus’ transfiguration also serves as endorsement by God that Jesus was His true Son – the ONLY ONE qualified to represent both God and humanity in restoring the relationship broken by human sin and war (v 35). Nothing must compete with our loyalty to Jesus, just as the other two disappeared (Moses and Elijah), everything competing with our true worship of Jesus must disappear. When Jesus is honoured and obeyed, peace will reign, church will grow and homes will be healed. Today, many things are competing with our true worship of Jesus, hence the divisions, wars, church decline and many other sinful habits are increasing.

Lent calls us to listen to Jesus. Failure to listen and obey God’s word is the foundation of the global darkness of sin and war today. Sin is deadly. War is terrible. Just as sin kills daily, wars claims millions of lives. Beyond the darkness of  the Third Reich, official Nazi designation for the regime in Germany from January 1933 to May 1945 or even the Nigerian civil war, 2022 war in Ukraine ‘brings violent evil to the fore once again and threatens to reshape our global future in ways we can only imagine.’ The scripture open our eyes to the strongman and cosmic evil that is behind the global conflicts, oppressions, the divisions and inequality that shapes the spirituality, the economic, and the politics of earthly warfare.

The consequences of failing to listen and obey God’s word are also found in human selfishness, racism, and greed among the sins that spawn divisions, pride, and wars. Most churches and global conflicts, decline, divisions and disputes centre on one or more individuals asserting their desires to have what they want and to do things their own way. At the root of church and global conflicts are desires for personal recognition, honour, power, pleasure, money and superiority. Sadly, satisfying selfish desires becomes more important than listening to Jesus (Mk 4:19, Lk 8:14, Gal 5:16-20). Those who are responsible for starting and promoting the conflict show that they are controlled by the sinful nature rather than the Holy Spirit. Preface to Lent warns us against our personal and corporate passions that make wars and divisions within our members and nations. Where is the abhorrent passions for the use of nuclear arms/weapons, nuclear retaliation and the thought of killing masses of helpless people who are themselves at the mercy of their own government coming from? Indeed, the sinful and war passions are coming from failure to listen to God’s word and the failure to be transfigured into God’s image.

The Transfiguration in global darkness of sin and war is an apt Preface to Lent especially in clearing away ‘the cobwebs which our faith somehow manages to accumulate’ due to our deafness to God’s word. Only a transfigured Peter could be used for the Pentecost rushing mighty wind just as only a transfigured preacher could be use for church reawakening (Acts 2). Apostle Paul was blinded by the light of Christ on the road to Damascus just as John Wesley felt his heart strangely warmed at Aldersgate, hence they were used as transfigured vessels by God. Until we are transfigured and blinded by the light of Christ, the present present global darkness of sin and war may be a child play. Transfiguration in global darkness of war and sin as preface to Lent represents a turning point in our lives, churches and nations. Where is the hearts of our preachers and politicians today? Transfiguration in global darkness of sin and war as preface to Lent invite us to renew our heart and commitment to Jesus, to listen and recognise Jesus as the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Lord and Saviour of the world.

Lord Jesus, humble us in order to listen to You as the Prince of Peace.