“Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ Peter didn’t know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’” [Mark 9:5-7]
While in Israel, I went to the church built on a hill where it is believed the Transfiguration occurred. The chapel has a doomed ceiling over the chancel area that is beautifully tiled with a vision of the transfiguration. I stood in awe as I took in the artist’s depiction. Unlike Peter, I believe I would have been stunned silent like the other two disciples. And if the vision of Jesus transfigured with Moses and Elijah is not enough, then a voice from a cloud says, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Listen! That is stop speaking, Peter. Stop speaking, people of God, and start listening. We as a church have the responsibility to listen to God’s son, but listening isn’t just for the mountaintop where the air is rarified and clear. Listening is in the trenches of community life where Jesus calls us to follow even when the road may lead us to a cross. Listening to each other is challenging, and so is listening to God. Both take humility. May we humble ourselves and set aside our egos long enough to develop these listening skills with one another and with God, for then and only then will we be able to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
Holy One, I hear you loud and clear, “Listen to Jesus.” Yet, I confess this is hard. The way of Jesus is challenging. The way of love is takes time and energy that I often don’t feel I have. Forgive me for taking shortcuts that sideline my listening skills. Give me the courage to listen deeply to your beloved. Amen.