One of the early morning rituals of getting Will up from his sleep when he was younger was to enter his room and attack him with space alien tickle monsters. He loved it! But what I would never do is to turn on a light in his room. Instead, I would use a light from another room to shine dimly into his room. Will’s eyes don’t adjust really fast to the sudden burst of light when you hit the light switch in his room, but on the other hand neither do mine! The artificial light from a light bulb in the morning hours is so unwelcome to the both of us and I know we are not alone.
On Transfiguration Sunday, which is the first Sunday in March this year, we hear the voice of God speaking out of the cloud: “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” This, as the Light of Jesus’ divinity shines before Peter, James, John and us, blinding.
The theme of light came to us on Christmas Eve as we lit candles and remembered the day that God came to us through a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and was lying in a manger. Then there was the celebration of Jesus baptism and the words of the Father coming down saying, “This is my Son the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
Transfiguration is the culmination of the season of Christmas, Epiphany and temporarily the season of light.
The light is never gone. As there is a light that will shine brighter than the light of Transfiguration and that comes from the sole purpose and reason that our communities of faith have come into being: the Light of Jesus’ Resurrection. But between the light of Transfiguration and the light of Resurrection there is a very deep valley we must journey through.
This valley we call Lent. Lent is a season of penance, fasting, and spiritual preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. The light of our pre-Lenten seasons of Christmas and Epiphany reveals much about us and maybe in your opinion too much! It reveals stuff like our sins that we wish to keep hidden and it reveals the ways we continue to avoid looking too closely at ourselves and the choices we make. The Light of the Everlasting has a way of shining upon us the ways we have chosen to remain or the way we like to live instead of the way we need to live that’s if we want to be counted as a Child of the Light.
We need Lent. We need the ashes of Ash Wednesday. We need to enter the spiritual wilderness as Jesus did after his baptism so that in the example of Jesus we may journey from the grace of Christmas to the grace of Good Friday and Easter morning.
So let us all reach up and let Jesus take us by the hand, and go where we do not wish to go. The wilderness of our souls calls us. The Holy Spirit leads as it lead Jesus. As we approach the terrible mystery of Good Friday we will come to know that the fire and cloud of the desert that lead the Israelites through will be there with just enough light to guide us too.
See you Sunday!
Rev. Dennis Hopes