Perhaps it is my recent experience with a 30 day retreat. Perhaps it is being on the cusp of a new adventure in people and place. Perhaps it is simply that though it is Lent and not August, the second Sunday's cycle A Gospel reading has Peter, James, and John taking a hike up Tabor with Jesus. Whatever the reason, I had a long think today on Transfiguration and several things occurred to me.
One, death is not itself transfiguration. Transfiguration changes Life....changes living...ways of being...ways of seeing... It is an experience that might move from living through dying...but always into life again.
Another, Love is what transfigures. Love. Nothing else but this difficult and stunning honor.
And, more... it is something that asks in love for my freedom. I cannot be bound and be transfigured.
As well, it is not a once for all. It is a consistent draw, an enticing motivation toward being more and more free...
Which includes being willing to walk the valleys...openly...trusting in Love...to walk because of Love...to walk with, beside, toward, within...Love... believing that an unknown Greater Still awaits.
I tend to think of Jesus' baptism as the first transfiguration...and that it was personal. I imagine the dawning awareness that must have come upon Jesus...under the river water, the hands of a trusted friend bearing him, hearing the voice of God name him Beloved, name him Son... Love called him, named him, washed over and through...
The trip up the mountain was a call from Love to the others. “Look.” “Listen.” “Attend.” And, understandably, it was a little much. What did it take to have them rise again? The touch of Jesus, the physical, beckoning, reassurance of deepest understanding, most profound presence, deepest love. Time to go, can’t stay here on the mountain…things to do, valleys to walk. And yet, in spite of the marvel of what happened, the trio were asked to not say anything to others.
Which brings me to another insight. I can live open to transfiguration, but the timing is not mine to mark or plan.
Makes it all that much more an adventure, really…because, who knows what opportunity will become an invitation toward new life, given in love?
And what I know for sure is that it is an act of giving and receiving. That is part of what I experienced in that thirty day retreat. Giving in to my desire for walking in freedom; for forgoing fear; for walking openly into come what may. Receiving strength; receiving even more desire; receiving more of Love’s truth and beauty; knowing more intimately the weight and pain of loving as well and knowing that there is no other choice I’d rather make than choosing to live on in love's fullness. Transfiguration is the bend of the Mobius…the both-and…the challenge-grace…the already-not yet…human-divine…
Another word for that came to me as I prayed today. The Cross.
Ah. Perhaps that is why it does not feel out of place to climb a mountain in the desert of Lent.