Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 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.” He did not 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!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. Mark 9:2-9 (NRSV)
A man once told me when it comes to results there are only these kinds of people:
There are those who wish for things to happen.
There are those who watch things happen.
There are those who make things happen.
And there are those who wonder what in the world just happened.
This also applies to parades, particularly the parade of life. We wish for great things, try to make them happen or watch others make things happen. In the end, like when all the elephants in the parade have gone by, we wonder about the meaning of it all.
I believe the disciples experiencing Jesus’ transfiguration are a fine example of all of the above.
Peter was the eager, brash, gregarious extrovert among the 12. He had this deep desire to see the success of Jesus’ mission. He watched (and was terrified along with the rest) as the possibilities on the mount of transfiguration unfolded. And he was ready to make it all happen – including building a shrine so that Jesus would be memorialized along with Moses and Elijah.
But Jesus said a flat NO…Peter, don’t go there; don’t even think about it! And by the time they got down from the mountain Peter was wondering what in the world had just happened.
Do you know the story of the young boy who had never seen a circus before? His father bought the boy a ticket and the next day the boy rode his bicycle to town. When the boy got back home dad wanted to know what the boy thought of the show. Did you enjoy the high wire walkers, performing lions and clowns stuffed in little cars? But the boy couldn’t tell him, because he’d only watched the parade. He had handed his ticket to the man sweeping up after the elephants passed because he thought the procession was the circus; he missed the main event.
Transfiguration Parade Problems
Like Peter, James and John, who almost missed it, Christians who attend church, but rarely go deeper, we imagine the show on the mount is the sum total of Christian experience. We enjoy the parade, but never seem to get it that we ARE the parade. When going to church takes the place of being the church we are like the little boy who missed the main event.
Jesus told them – just wait until the Resurrection…then get busy telling the world. Fortunately, for us, the disciples did get it; they remembered what Jesus said, and, after the resurrection they joined the parade…spreading the Good News of Jesus.
Are you wishing, watching, and wondering…that’s good, it’s all part of the parade.
But it’s Jesus who makes it happen.
Ready to be part of this circus?