The Word of God transforms and heals. God promises us that through Scripture we will meet God, and our identities as individuals and a community of faith will be formed and transformed. The Gospel reading today give us an account of what is generally called our Lord’s Transfiguration; his being wonderfully changed, and his being wonderfully owned by his Father upon the mount. The transfiguration, suggests a new turning point in Jesus’ ministry, his preparation for the final journey to Jerusalem, and our preparation for Lent. The Greek word for “transfigured” is the one we get our English word “metamorphosis” which means a change on the outside which comes from within. Jesus was changed from an ordinary looking man into a figure of light with brilliant beams radiating from His body. The reason his clothes became white was from the light emanating from within. Indeed, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Prayer also transforms and heals. Jesus took Peter, John, and James with him and went up a hill to pray, a mountaintop experience. In Luke 9, while Jesus was praying, his face changed its appearance, and his clothes became dazzling white (v 29). While Jesus was praying, Peter and his companions were sound asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and their response is very instructive for us today. Peter ignorantly said, “Master, how good it is that we are here! We will make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” What was good for Peter and his companions was not good for Jesus.
The reflection is that “Prayer is a transfiguring, transforming duty, which makes the face to shine.” Jesus went into the mountain to pray; and as he prayed, he was transfigured; that the fashion of his countenance was altered. God is calling the church to be a praying church, hence “making time and space for prayer and reflection is crucial if we are to know who he is and where we are going with him.” The sad news today is that like Peter and his companions, many Christians are sleeping and powerless in the place of prayer hence no transformation and healing in our society. The sleeping church can be good in building tents and traditions but it stands in sharp contrast to fully awake powerful church just as ‘the disciples’ sleeping stands in sharp contrast to when the three disciples become ‘fully awake.’ While sleeping, they saw nothing, but when ‘fully awake,’ they ‘saw his glory.'” The question is what are you seeing? Let us bears in mind that there is many an Elijah or Moses, many traditions and philosophy to divide our loyalties and making us busy or to sleep, but in the end it is Jesus we must listen to. He must be our focus, our Lord.
Jesus after his transfiguration healed a demon possessed boy. The father of the possessed boy, a teacher begged Jesus’ disciples to drive the demon out, but they could not. The truth is that you can not give what you don’t have. The words of Jesus to his disciples calls for our deep reflection. Jesus said, “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Going to church does not make one a believer, neither church position makes us prophetic. It takes a transfigured soul to transform or heal another soul. Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. The world is sick today because of unbelief and perverseness especially in the church. Enough of sleeping and powerless church behind the four wall. Jesus comes off the mountain of prayer into the valley of Jerusalem to set free the boy with demon spirit. God comes off the mountain and into the valley of our lives and gets his hands dirty to bring us healing and wholeness of life. A sleeping church is stuck in the present having no learning from the past or vision for the future but busy in maintaining the building while the world is sick and possessed by the evil spirit. The reflection is that, there are many evil going on in the world because the church is asleep, overwhelmed and powerless to help. A church that is transfigured and awaked comes off the mountain of their prayer into the valley of our nations, homes, marriage, schools, and workplace. The miracle of the Gospel is that the Word became flesh and has dwelt among us. Using the words of John Wesley, indeed, the ‘best of all is God with us. This is the miracle of the Christian faith.
The message of Transfiguration was the theme of Dr. Luther King Jr’s message. He said, “We have been to the mountain top, and we have seen the Promised Land,” and we have nothing to fear. So now, we have to come down from the mountain top, so that we might tell others what we’ve seen. In following after the footstep of Jesus, who after the Transfiguration came down from the mountain and healed the epileptic boy, the church is called to come down from our metaphoric “mountain”, our place, our building to encounter God, into the valley of our communities, homes, marriage and workplace to bring hope, and healing to a broken world. Transfiguration as an ‘apt Preface to Lent’ and Jesus journey to Jerusalem calls for a change and personal renewal in transfiguring as healing agent of the Christian faith.