Friday, February 9, 2018

On the Mountain

This Sunday will be the last Sunday of Epiphany, when we hear the story of Jesus's transfiguration. Jesus ascends the mountain with Peter, John, and James, and then is suddenly transformed from the teacher they knew and loved to a heavenly figure in dazzling white standing between Moses and the prophet Elijah. The disciples feel both excitement and fear by this unexpected transfiguration that manifests Jesus's divinity.

In all of the media coverage this week, there is certainly excitement that St. Helena's is receiving recognition for the hard work we are doing to transform the parish and the world. Perhaps there's some apprehension, too, for all the work that lies ahead. We have committed to doing some difficult things, and despite our careful preparation, we don't know how those things will turn out. Like in the Transfiguration story, we must follow the command God gives to the terrified disciples, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!" This is the same message God proclaimed to the world at Jesus's baptism.

It would be comfortable to us to do as Peter suggests, to put down roots and stay where we are: "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." But we can't just congratulate ourselves and sit on our laurels. We must constantly listen to Jesus and move forward where he beckons. God will require us to challenge ourselves and be receptive to the transformation God offers us. Next week, we will enter Lent, when God invites us to strip away the trappings and pretensions of the world and seek an inner transformation through repentance and holiness. It is hard work, but Jesus's voice will always be with us to lead us forward. I wish you all a most Holy Lent.

Abundant blessings,
Fr. Ethan+

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