At the beginning of the month we talked about Simeon looking at Jesus and recognising that he had reached the moment of his life and I asked the question what would that moment in our lives look like, how do we know something has been Successful when we look back at it?
Now that is alright for Simeon he was at the end of his life, and indeed some people like the Nazi kommandment in Rome during the second world war find their faith at the end. But what of the rest of us, us. We experience our nirvana moment then what.
That is the essence, as I see it behind this story in the transfiguration. This is a story for us e normal people who like the disciples actually have to continue living or lives.
Let us look at the story, the disciples who believed and yet did not fully understand the enormity of it all. Us. And then they have this experience on top of a mountain, unbelievable, Peter not knowing what to do, like all of us immediately wanted to make a shrine, a place of honour, a mark to be remembered, a place which could be worshipped. Because we all want a physical representation of our faith, it enables us to focus on something. This is of course where the more catholic Anglicans among us are, and others it is of course the bible, but still it is a physical representation, something we can see of a faith that is so unseen. In All three of the synoptic gospels in which this story occurs this wanting to make a shrine is seen as a negative thing, because all three state that Peter did not really know what he was saying. It was an impulsive reaction, one can Imagine that he was over excited. In Matthew and mark Jesus orders the disciples not to tell anyone what they had seen , though in this version by Luke we are just told that they kept silent. Some how I can't see it, that they would just keep silent having bee obviously so excited, I think the mark and Matthean version is probably more accurate, and of course mark was one source for the write of Luke.
So they want to talk about it but are told not to. So what do they so- they have recognised that Jesus is the Christ they want to tell the world by building three shrines, and yet they can't. How similar is that to us, when suddenly we find meaning on our religion, when suddenly things fall into place and we develop our faith, the faith that cannot be shaken, the faith that is the kernel of our very essence- we have that moment which we just want to share, because we know that people would want to hear about salvation. Except of course, others don't- they are not ready, and some of Jesus disciples were not ready- it was only Peter James and John. And they were told to keep a lid on it, maybe because Jesus knew that others weren't ready to hear that Moses and Elijah were meeting with Jesus. After all not long after this event, when they were filled with the spirit, they were told they must be drunk.
And we would get the same response, we do, we are considered irrelevant, what we believe in is blamed for the worlds wars, people look at our weaknesses and mistakes the ties we get it wrong and use that as an excuse; as if we pretend to be perfect. But we don't suggest we are, we know we are not, that is why we are here, let us face it for an hour a week or community is a safer place because we are all in here.
So society is not ready and yet we have this amazing good news like Peter James and John had, what do we do. What did they do. They quietly carried on, sometimes getting it right and sometimes getting it so blazingly wrong, particularly in peters case. And it is as simple as that.
Peter in his letters we see continuously wrestled with everything. And in his struggle he grew closer to God, he looked to develop his own self, he supported the other disciples and together they looked to help the poor and the marginalised. These are the four directions of our pilgrimage, outlined in the way of life pilgrimage that we are apart of in this diocese. But it something to tell us where we are, what we need to concentrate on, help us to simply in some cases to open our eyes and take a step back.
Athletes have a training regime, and many fitness fanatics where wrist band monitors which tell them how many steps they have taken, how much weight loss they have. It measures progress without any effort from the user. For our spiritual lives we need to record to reflect on, what happens in our lives. A daily good point, something we have received today, give or shared today, something that makes us take a step back. Something we have done that “pays it forward”, a contact We record them to chart and reflect how we handle this moments.
So when we have big events in our lives, like Peter, James and John did, but we don't forget that they went back to their normal .lives afterward and were still disciples of Christ, as we are called to be in our normal daily lives. It is in the small things that we draw closer Christ but so often we only worry about the big things. In short, if you think it is the big events in your life that define you, think again- it is the small everyday things- that is because you always smile you will be defined- not just because once climbed Everest. So, look at what you can do, not at what you can’t. You can’t change the world by your self, but you can change your world and that may well help others change theirs too.