Category Archives: holy

Transfiguration and Disfiguration

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At our housegroup this week we were reflecting on the Transfiguration.

The first words of the meditation were “picture yourself with Jesus and his followers Peter, James and John as you walk up the steep path that is the spectacular Mount Tabor”.  One of those simple statements that pulls you up short. Well I know Mount Tabor is spectacular, and steep!  I went there many years ago.

tabor-galilea

Mount of Transfiguration 001
Mount Tabor – The Mount of Transfiguration

And yes, we took the transport up it.  But now I am being asked to walk it and that is beyond me – even with Jesus.  My illness and disabilities make that beyond me.  How I would love to be able to walk up a mountain, or even a hill or a small mound.

And one thought led to another.  If I can’t make it up the mountain, am I going to miss out on the mountain top experience?  If I can’t ever make it up the mountain, to the away day, to the social event, to anything that requires more than an hour of me sitting on a chair, to sit in a room where the lights are too bright, to be in an environment where there is sensory overload, too much noise, to do anything that requires more energy than I have (not a lot), (insert your own difficulty)… am I always going to be missing out on the special encounter with God?

The beauty of the TakeTime meditations is that Jesus takes you aside and asks you to share with him what is on your mind and in your heart. And God listens and speaks.

To me – God is the God of the Mountain Tops, but he is also the God of the Valley Bottoms.  I am with you wherever you are.  You can meet with me right here, as far as you can, or can’t, get. I am here and you are special.

But yet still it feels there is so much to miss out on, so much I can’t be a part of.  Not because of anyone’s fault, but my circumstance.

Is there anything that can be done to help me?  (My church is brilliant at helping me access community and God in ways that I can that fit outside the box – our housegroup is one example of that – but that is not everyone’s experience)

How can I help others meet God?  Perhaps sitting at the bottom of the mountain is the place I need to be to meet others who also have to sit there.

I have no neat answers, just some questions.

 

Mark 9:2-13 Good News Translation (GNT)

The Transfiguration

Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain, where they were alone. As they looked on, a change came over Jesus, and his clothes became shining white—whiter than anyone in the world could wash them. Then the three disciples saw Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus. Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, “Teacher, how good it is that we are here! We will make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He and the others were so frightened that he did not know what to say.

Then a cloud appeared and covered them with its shadow, and a voice came from the cloud, “This is my own dear Son—listen to him!” They took a quick look around but did not see anyone else; only Jesus was with them.

As they came down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has risen from death.”

10 They obeyed his order, but among themselves they started discussing the matter, “What does this ‘rising from death’ mean?” 11 And they asked Jesus, “Why do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah has to come first?”

12 His answer was, “Elijah is indeed coming first in order to get everything ready. Yet why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man will suffer much and be rejected? 13 I tell you, however, that Elijah has already come and that people treated him just as they pleased, as the Scriptures say about him.”

Good News Translation (GNT)Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society 

 

***Do take a look at the Take Time meditations.  They are a brilliant resource for personal or group use.  We use them at our house group set up specifically for those with chronic illness or caring for those who have as a short and non-demanding group.  No great concentration or sitting for a long time required.  Just support, understanding of one anothers issues, meeting with each other and God.

Jesus is Coming

God is,
always has been
and yet
is still to come.

He loves us,
saves us,
frees us
and appoints us
to be with him.
We are his people,
workers with him.

And yet,
he is still to come.
He promises to come again,
that everyone may see,
there will be no uncertainty,
God’s arrival.

God who was,
is
and is yet to come
we worship you.

I come in confession
for the times I have ignored you,
not looked for you,
missed
or hampered
your arrival where I am.
Forgive me
when I have wounded you.

May I wait,
faithfully,
openly,
longingly,
looking for your presence.

Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending

Revelation 1:4-8 (CEV)

From John to the seven churches in Asia.

I pray that you
    will be blessed
with kindness and peace
from God, who is and was
    and is coming.
May you receive
    kindness and peace
from the seven spirits
    before the throne of God.
May kindness and peace
    be yours
from Jesus Christ,
    the faithful witness.

Jesus was the first
    to conquer death,
and he is the ruler
    of all earthly kings.
Christ loves us,
    and by his blood
he set us free
    from our sins.
He lets us rule as kings
and serve God his Father
    as priests.
To him be glory and power
    forever and ever! Amen.
Look! He is coming
    with the clouds.
Everyone will see him,
even the ones who stuck
    a sword through him.
All people on earth
will weep because of him.
    Yes, it will happen! Amen.

The Lord God says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the one who is and was and is coming. I am God All-Powerful!”

Toxic Words

We all know it is important to wash our hands before eating or handling food.  We don’t want to consume more than we bargain for!  So it seems not unreasonable in this passage for the Teachers to be pulling Jesus’ disciples up on not having washed their hands.  These are men who live an itinerant life, and opportunities to wash must have been haphazard to say the least.  How kind of them to worry about the health of the disciples…

But that is not really what they are quibbling about.  They are not talking about hygiene, but about ritual.  It is not about washing your hands, or fruit, or pots and pans – all of which is necessary, but about washing them a certain way, a ritual way, almost a magic way as if it’s not done ‘that’ way, it doesn’t count.  It is just another way of control and rules and regulations that add nothing.

They want to know why Jesus isn’t doing things ‘their’ way.

Jesus, quite bluntly, tells them that they would be better worrying about what comes out of their mouths than what goes in.  There words and behaviour are far more toxic than any bacteria.

What they do and say to people is harming them, potentially killing them, and it is certainly not pleasing God.

There words and actions are meaningless, because they are about their control not God’s ways.  Where is that love that our readings have spoken of all week?

Forgive me Lord,
when I make up rules
about you;
when I focus
on things that don’t matter,
and not
on what does;
when I point to people’s errors
and don’t consider
what I am really doing.

Lord,
take me from toxicity
to love,
for nit-picking
to freedom,
from control
to hope
in
and through
you

Mark 7:1-8, 14-16, 21-23  (CEV)

The Teaching of the Ancestors

Some Pharisees and several teachers of the Law of Moses from Jerusalem came and gathered around Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples ate without first washing their hands.

The Pharisees and many other Jewish people obey the teachings of their ancestors. They always wash their hands in the proper way before eating. None of them will eat anything they buy in the market until it is washed. They also follow a lot of other teachings, such as washing cups, pitchers, and bowls.

The Pharisees and teachers asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? Why do they eat without washing their hands?”

Jesus replied:

You are nothing but show-offs! The prophet Isaiah was right when he wrote that God had said,

  “All of you praise me
    with your words,
but you never really
    think about me.
It is useless for you
    to worship me,
when you teach rules
    made up by humans.”

You disobey God’s commands in order to obey what humans have taught.

What Really Makes People Unclean

14 Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean. 15-16 The food that you put into your mouth doesn’t make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean.”

21 Out of your heart come evil thoughts, vulgar deeds, stealing, murder, 22 unfaithfulness in marriage, greed, meanness, deceit, indecency, envy, insults, pride, and foolishness. 23 All of these come from your heart, and they are what make you unfit to worship God.