Jesus’ ministry is touched at two significant moments by God’s glory and God’s voice. The first was at his baptism as he started his ministry. The second is here at the transfiguration. In the first three Gospels, this visitation of God comes as Jesus turns toward Jerusalem and his coming sacrifice, and it serves to affirm and strengthen him for the ordeal ahead. But it was also an important moment of preparation and reassurance for the disciples. It was natural, as they watched Jesus die, that they should have doubted his claims. However, even though the Gospels do reflect these doubts, it may have been the memory of this event that kept them from completely abandoning the community Jesus had started and the teachings he had given. Perhaps it was this memory that helped Peter stay present enough to be restored after he denied Jesus.

For we who seek to follow Jesus today, the transfiguration is an important moment in the Church Calendar. The season after the Epiphany, through which we have just journeyed, is “book-ended” by the two moments when Jesus sees God’s glory and hears God’s voice. This means that we have had a wonderful opportunity to see God’s glory revealed in Jesus. It also means that, as we turn to the challenging and convicting season of Lent, we can hold in our hearts the memory of God’s affirmation of Jesus and allow this to sustain us as we embrace the transforming disciplines of this season.

This week, as we meditate on the transfiguration and begin the Lenten journey, we open ourselves to God’s glory and affirmation, and prepare ourselves for the journey of repentance that leads us to the cross and beyond.

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