Today’s Gospel is the Transfiguration, one of those beautiful and mystical stories in Luke. Reading it today made me think of three things. First, we long to cling to the good experiences in life. Second, as a pastor reminded me today, there is a thin veil that separates us from the other side. Third, when we have a God-experience, we radiate that Love and Light in a way that creates a deep longing in others.
When we have a mountaintop experience, it is a challenge to come back to reality. We have all had those moments–a great vacation, an evening with a loved one, an exquisite meal, the quiet beauty of a hike in a forest, laughter amongst friends that makes you glad to be alive, the completion of a task done well, the adrenaline rush of successfully pushing past your fears and doing something that scares you, saying goodbye to someone we have lost. Those highs are addictive and we wonder if they will be experienced again…and so we cling. The moments that are most holy in our lives are often quiet and moving and a little bit different than a feel-good rush. They leave an indelible mark on our spirits. We never forget them. In many ways, those mountaintop moments live on forever and change us at our core. I am sure Peter never wanted to head home but when he did that transforming time niggled at him every day, begging him to remember and to integrate it into his life.
When we witness proof of the Other Side, as the disciples did, we realize that we remain connected to all that has been and all that will be. Just as the disciples, we do not always talk about these mystical mysteries afterwards. We stand as sacred spectators who are often speechless at what was observed. A lifetime could pass before we comprehend it, and maybe not even then. We look at life differently after that. Maybe we do not fear death so much after we have such an encounter.
What does happen in both instances is a subtle shift that makes others wonder what it is that person knows that cannot be explained. Something about the person is appealing. Is it as in the Second Reading from Philippians that they know that their citizenship is in heaven? Have they learned to let go a bit? Have they glimpsed something incredible that they now believe without a doubt? They now seem to radiate Love and Light in a way that creates a longing for those around them. They have become a wee bit like what they witnessed–a bit holier, somewhat mysterious and a pleasure to be around. May we all be so blessed as to receive such moments and people in our lives.
Do you know people who have been transfigured by a mountaintop moment? What qualities do they possess?
What mountaintop experience has left an indelible mark on your spirit?
How blessed are we!