Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Light and loss

I am not preaching this week and I didn't get a post up last week. I am looking at the readings anyways and thought, what a change in mood in one week. Transfiguration has us up on the mountaintop with this Jesus, who the disciples are understanding is somehow the Son of God, even if they have no understanding of what that means. God tells them to "Listen to him", then they go back down the mountain and spend the next few chapters completely lost because they aren't hearing what they want from Jesus.

They want, like the crowd that is following them, a final earthly solution to this problem of the Romans. The return of the Golden Age of Israel, when they were more than a minor province of a massive empire.

We still look for those final earthly solutions. We want that glowing Jesus to wave a hand and make all those people who aren't like us to change. If only everyone was like us the world would be perfect.

Only it wouldn't be. The story of the Fall in the Garden is, for me, about how each person doesn't take responsibility for their action. They point their finger and cry "It's their fault, your fault, anything but my fault!" What the story shows is that we as humans don't want to accept responsibility for the mess we make of things. Whether it is global warming or the gap between the rich and poor, it is always someone else's fault.

The light of Christ shines to reveal our need for God. Why? So we can move into relationship with God and the world and take up our responsibility for each other and Creation. Look at Jesus, he goes into the desert and is tempted.

He is tempted to do good. Make stones into bread, not just for himself but for the world. He can feed everyone! How cool is that. Only he would spend all his time making stones into bread and nothing would change.

He could give into the world and go the path of power. Become King/Emperor, supreme ruler. Make good laws, enforce the Dominion of God. Only people have tried that and failed. The Dominion of God can only be entered by choice. Empire cannot defeat Empire.

He could prove with miracles and wonders that he is God's Son. Only he would have to come up with ever more spectacular wonders and people would still not believe. Because believing would mean they would have to take responsibility for their lives and that it too hard.

The light of revelation is meant for the mountain tops. It is the experience that defies language. We can't explain it, we can only live it. The temptation will be to try to translate it into something that is useful in this world, but that doesn't work.

All we can do is go down the mountain and try to listen, listen, listen for that whisper of the Spirit that tells us that we, and they, need to choose love for ourselves.

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