Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.
Six days later? What happened six days ago? A conversation in which Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Let’s remember that – it just may be a clue to what Jesus was doing up there on the mountain. Another clue is the mountain itself. It was a mountain to which Moses was called to go and spend 40 days and 40 nights with God, getting the commandments – and when he came down, his face was shining so brightly, he had to cover it to avoid blinding the people. And it was a mountain on which Elijah was told to come out of a cave and see God pass by, not in a whirlwind, nor an earthquake, nor fire, but in a sound of sheer silence.
In our sacred scriptures, mountains are places where God reveals God’s self to human beings. It appears that this mountain is no different – for there,Jesus is transfigured – his face changes, shines like the sun, and his clothes become dazzling white.
When do you remember last having a sense of God’s presence, a glimpse, a word, a feeling?
Can you remember and claim that? Write it down?
And when did you last go to a place apart, on retreat, alone or maybe with just a few friends?
Did you sense the presence of God then? Often, when I have taken the time to go apart, God has shown up in mighty ways – not right away, but after a time. At the right time. I have just returned from two days in a monastery; there was no light show for me, but some quiet “coincidences,” reminding me that God was with me on my path.
Going away can facilitate our spiritual encounters because the quotidian rhythms and tasks of our lives can dull our spiritual senses. If you’ve never been on retreat, consider planning one. The Spirit also shows up in our daily "apart" times, as we get quiet and open our spirits. Just sit with as much stillness as you can and pray, “Lord, I want to know you’re here with me. Show me…”
And then let it go. You might find a thought or a word popping into your head that doesn’t seem like one you’d have thought on your own; you might have a physical sensation of presence; you might get a picture. You might sense nothing – just give thanks that God is answering whether or not you feel it.
We don’t all get Jesus turning radiant bright in front of us – thank God! We have been promised that he is always with us. That’s gift enough.