As part of the Call to Change initiative, the Jellicoe blog now includes a weekly post on the lectionary readings, and how they relate to the Gospel call to social transformation.
For the two Sundays leading up to Lent, the Church of England lectionary chooses special readings to prepare us for the season.
Last Sunday’s readings reminded us that God’s glory is found in engagement with, not evasion of, the material world. In Christ, the divine life has ‘moved into the neighbourhood’, and so all aspects of life can reveal the glory of God.
That message is reinforced this week with the Gospel of the Transfiguration (Mark 9.2-9). We are given a glimpse of our destination as Christians – as the glory of God shines out through Jesus Christ (something echoed in the Epistle, 2 Corinthians 4.3-6)
It is a particularly appropriate reading as we stand just days from Lent. The Transfiguration is like a ‘fast-forwarding’ of salvation: a moment, before Jesus begins his journey to crucifixion, where we glimpse the purpose of the cross. The purpose is the salvation of all things – spiritual and material – so that the whole created order can shine forth with God’s mercy, love and glory.
We need these kinds of ‘mountain-top’ experiences as Christians – moments which lift the heart, and raise our vision beyond the daily grind to glimpse our destination.
Lent is a good time to take stock and re-balance our spiritual lives. Do we spend too much time on the ‘mountain top’? If so, we need to hear Jesus’ call to return down to the level ground – so that the glory we glimpse in worship and prayer becomes more of a reality in our relationships and our communities? Or are we so ground down by our daily labours that we have lost our sense of perspective and direction? If so, we may need to make more time in our lives to allow God to lift our hearts and raise our vision, as Jesus did on the mountain.