The most striking reading this Sunday is the Gospel story of the Transfiguration. The immediacy of the divine presence is mystery and awe filled yet it draws us to itself. The presence on that mountain top of Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophet, culminates in the dissolving of them into Jesus the Christ, the reconciliation if you will of the strictures of the law and the promise of the prophets is found in the person of Jesus. Jesus tells us elsewhere I did not come to destroy the law but rather to fulfill it.
This revelation of the immanence of divinity in their midst engulfed in light was truly a mountain top experience. It was full of mystery, mystery which holds light and darkness. Mystery entices us “let us stay and build three tents.” Mystery leads us forth, changed forever, ever seeking more.
How gracious our God to give these three disciples this depth experience. Yet in reality, all of us at some time in our lives are invited to such mountaintop experiences and we are changed forever.
The Gospel from the First Sunday of Lent tells us of the familiar story of Jesus, returning from his baptism by John in the Jordan and filled with the Spirit, going into the desert, fasting for forty days and then encountering the devil with three temptations, focusing on bread, power and self-knowledge. As I have stayed with this reading this week I have come to realize that it is as much a reading on Jesus discernment as it is on temptation. We are not given how much time Jesus took to respond; only that he responded each time with a phrase from the Hebrew scripture. Each response began with “it is written” or “it also says.” How deep within his being must have been those sacred words. How formative the words of the sacred books must have been within his lifetime. Through these words Jesus was able to be in touch with his true self. He spoke out of the ground of his being.
For us, where do we go to get in touch with the ground of our being? Where do we have that quiet time apart, that desert experience in which we can listen to our knowing of the Divine within? How do we unite ourselves with the Word of God spoken to us through the scriptures, through our tradition, through all of creation and so importantly deep within our being?
Can we respond out of the depth of who we really are, as desired by God? How do we discern our choices for bread, for power, for control in the midst of this very tempting world?
So I invite you to consider, who are you in the depth of your being and how do you wish to respond to life?
Ash Wednesday - February 13, 2013
We have entered into the sacred time of Lent with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. Celebration? Yes! Lent is a season to celebrate our participation in the Paschal Mystery….all that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus has done for us and is teaching us about the beauty of life and God’s call to us to have life to the full.
As has recently been suggested in a homily here at Nazareth, Lent is a time to “get unplugged”. Get unplugged from the many electronic devices that take up our every moment of every day. Lent is a time to step apart and reflect upon all in our lives that we desire to embrace more fully and all in our lives that we need to relinquish. What practices do we fall into that pull us down and what practices do we desire that might make us more whole….more holy.
Lent is not so much a time of “giving up” but rather a time of saying yes to those invitations of the divine we find within ourselves.
As Richard Rohr says in one of his Ash Wednesday meditations:
“You are the desiring of God. God desires through you and longs for Life and Love through you and in you. Allow it, speak it, and you will find your place in the universe of things.” (Wondrous Love)
Spend a few moments with these thoughts this week and notice where the Spirit of Lent, the Spirit of Spring is calling you.
Join us weekly for Lenten meditations here at Nazareth Retreat Center.
Sharon Gray, SCN