Transformative Moments (Transfiguration of Our Lord)

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In the last few weeks, we’ve finally been able to find contractors willing to talk to us and give us bids on the patio / courtyard project that the Congregation approved doing a couple of years ago!  We’ve got one contractor in particular who we’re confident will do a good job, and we’re now in the process of getting a basic proposal ready for Council.

Personally, I always enjoy these kinds of projects!  But I’m especially looking forward to this project, not only because it will transform the muddy mess between the fellowship and sanctuary doors into something usable and nicer to look at.

In fact, I feel like this project could be a transformative moment for us.  After a time when we’ve been apart due to Covid, and when we’ve all had our routines of worship and fellowship disrupted, actually developing a warm, inviting space to help re-build community and fellowship with one another couldn’t come at a better time.

And I realize that as we’ve thought about this project over the last couple of years, this isn’t just about a patio.  It’s really about:

  • New ideas and new visions for how we can learn, worship and build community with each other and with others in our community (like the NA groups that use our building…)
  • Experiencing excitement about those new possibilities – which, after so many depressing things have happened over the past few years, it’s good to feel excitement and hope for the future again…!
  • Getting energized to move forward and do new things – which again, after simply needing to find ways to get by for a long time now, is a good experience to have…

Of course, like any transformative moment, I’m sure that things won’t change overnight.  We need to get this project done, which will take a little while yet.  We need to actually try new things with the space and learn what does and doesn’t work.  And we need to wait and see how some of these new opportunities will guide and affect our life as a community.  It won’t happen overnight, or even in just this next year.  That’s the way transformative moments work.

And that’s also how the transformative moment on the mountaintop with Jesus seemed to work in the lives of his first disciples as well.  In our Gospel reading today, Jesus was literally “transformed” before the eyes of the disciples.  It was a transformative moment for the disciples.  And it’s clear that that moment for them was also about:

  • Seeing Jesus in (literally!) a new light!  They had their eyes opened to a new way of seeing things, and therefore, new possibilities with Jesus that they probably hadn’t envisioned before …
  • Experiencing excitement and hope for the future – surely, they were scared out of their wits!  But you also get the sense that they’re really excited about what God is doing in their lives, and they want to be part of it…
  • Getting energized and strengthened to follow Jesus in new ways – and they’d need that strength, because they were about to come down from the mountaintop and follow Jesus to the cross – a journey of following Jesus that wasn’t always fun and happy.  But, that transformative moment was part of what gave them that strength…

And yet, the change didn’t happen all at once.  Indeed, as our Gospel reading continued after they came down the mountain, the very next scene is Jesus being exasperated that the disciples are having the very same problems they had a few days before…! 

The transformative moment didn’t suddenly change them overnight (or even in the next week or year).  But it did help them to continue the journey and grow into the people Jesus called them to be… (and that journey never ended!)

And so this week, as we begin again our Lenten journey of following Jesus to the Cross and the Empty Tomb, be alert to the transformative moments God is giving you in your life.

Sometimes, those moments may seem deeply spiritual or even mystical, like that mountaintop experience.  Sometimes, the transformative moments may seem like construction projects!  And often, transformative moments may not be noticed by anybody but you.

But whatever the transformative moment is in your life, God’s purpose is always to give you vision and new ways of looking at life, and what God is doing in your life.  God’s purpose is always to give you hope and excitement for what lies ahead, so that you’re not totally weighed down by the problems and the pain that are all around us.  And most of all, God’s purpose is to give you strength and stamina to continue to follow Jesus on a journey that may be hard or confusing, but which ultimately leads to Resurrection and new life.