Containing God

A Sunday Reflection for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Lectionary readings for today are here.

Today is the last Sunday before the season of Lent and in the Gospel lesson for today we read of the Transfiguration of Jesus. The writer of Luke tells us that Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to come with him the mountain to pray. We don’t have the words Jesus prayed but while praying he is transformed physically, his face changes and his clothes become “dazzling white.” And two men, Moses and Elijah, appear with Jesus. We can only imagine what was going through the disciples’ heads and hearts as they witnessed this awesome revelation from God.

What we do know is Peter’s reaction. He says “it is good for us to be here” and offers to build them each a dwelling so they can stay. The narrator then gives us the curious statement of “not knowing what he said” just in case we missed how inappropriate, although I’m sure good intentioned, Peter’s words are.

When we experience the awesomeness of God, we want to remain in the experience. We want to abide on the mountain top, to feel God’s presence coursing through us. But that is not how God intends for us to be.

God interrupts Peter’s planning and sets Peter and the others back on course: “this is my beloved son, listen to him.” And Jesus leads them back down the mountain, continuing on the journey toward his death and resurrection so that we can all live in God’s presence every moment of everyday.

God abides with us as we interact with the world around us in the everyday ordinary moments of our lives. We don’t have to be on a mountaintop to experience God’s presence. We can see God’s presence in the face of every person we meet, those we live with and work with and play with. And in ourselves. We experience the beauty of God’s creation in our backyard gardens, the amazing God-given abilities of human engineering in our homes and shops and office buildings, the power of God’s healing through the hands of medical professionals, the provision of God as we use the skills God gave us to provide for our families, the joy of God in the laughter of our loved ones, the peace of God in our stress and anxiety, the compassion of God in our personal struggles and conflicts.

God’s presence and power and work is all around us and in us and through us. As we follow Jesus in prayer we become more and more aware of God’s abiding presence in all that we do and in all that we are. It’s a lifelong journey. We can’t contain God’s awesomeness so that we can come and view it when it’s convenient. We are to live it each and every day as God’s beloved children.

May your day and your week be filled with the awareness of the Presence of God with you where you are.

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