“Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them..” Mark 9:2
Greetings, Fremont Family:
This Sunday, 2/14, is Transfiguration Sunday, the occasion when Jesus’s appearance changes right before the disciples’ very eyes. He becomes “dazzling.” The Transfiguration marks a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. From then on, Jesus pivots from traveling throughout the Judean countryside to going to Jerusalem. Consequently, Transfiguration is the gateway to the season of Lent. From this Sunday on, we too will pivot, and we will endeavor to go with Jesus to Jerusalem.
Why this sudden change in direction? Where are we headed, and how do we start our journey? In the Christian tradition, a change in direction is always another way of understanding “repentance.” That is, for many of us, we often live our lives unexamined until something dramatic takes place, an illness, a job change, a birth, a death, a global pandemic. This life change provokes a season of reflection, “Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing?,” “Are my priorities in the right place?” “What needs to change?” In the church, the season of Lent is our liturgical “life change.” Each year, we are given a season to remember our mortality. We collectively admit that our lives are not forever. We are headed toward death, and consequently, every day is a gift. If things in our lives are not as they should be, then we are given the grace to change. Praise God!
The season of Lent begins next Wednesday, 2/17. We will mark the occasion of this important season with “Ash Wednesday at Home.” To participate, you will need to make arrangements to pick up ashes or have them delivered to you. We are preparing small tins of ashes to take home. Pickup and/or delivery will be this Sunday, 2/14 from 2-4pm. We are creating a special liturgy that you can participate in at your convenience. It will be posted on Facebook and on YouTube. You can also join a small group gathering on ZOOM at 6:45pm next Wednesday through the Prayer Meeting ZOOM link. We are hoping that this flexibility and creativity will make it easier for you and your family to embark on this important journey with Jesus to Jerusalem.
On the mountain, the disciples get a glimpse of Jesus’ true identity as “the Holy One of God.” They see Jesus transfigured that they might be persuaded to “listen to him.” Even so, the journey ahead of them will not be easy. On many occasions, the disciples will want to turn back or persuade Jesus to choose a different destination. We, too, will need the light of transfiguration to go with Jesus. May we, together, find the strength to walk toward the season of Lent, to remember our lives are not forever as we mark ourselves with an ash cross. Our destination is Jerusalem, so that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too might be changed.
Thanks be to God, Pastor Erin