Signposts: Daily Devotions

Thursday, September 18

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
—Matthew 9: 9

These are the final verses of the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration. Three of the disciples, Peter, James and John, have gone up the mountain with Jesus and have had a terrifying and mystifying experience: first, Jesus’ whole countenance changes; then, Israel’s two greatest prophets, Moses and Elijah, appear and speak with Jesus.

Needless to say, the disciples are stunned and overwhelmed. Peter tries suggesting that they make three altars on the mountain, to sort of nail down the experience, but Jesus immediately orders them all down the mountain, back to reality.

Why?  Why the sudden transition, back to earth? 

Joan Chittister writes about the Transfiguration in her book The Heart of the Temple:

Of course, the call to Christian ministry presupposes a long, long journey up a mountain to find God. But the call to ministry also means that we simply cannot build a spiritual life and expect to stay on the top of our pious and antiseptic little mountains.

She continues,

The question is, who will help the people at the foot of the mountain to turn the transfiguring light of Christ into the dark spots of life? The desert monastics tell the story of ministry this way: past a seeker on a prayer rug came the cripples and the beggars and the beaten. And seeing them, the seeker went down, down, down into deep prayer and cried: “Great God!  If you are a great God how is it that a loving creator can see such things and do nothing about them?” And out of the long, long silence, the voice of God came back,“I did do something about them. I made you.”

Dear Lord, help us to understand what real transformation is all about; teach us to balance our inward journeys with reaching out to the world around us. Amen.

The Signposts for September are written by Margaret Jones and originally appeared on explorefaith in 2005.