Mark 9:2-9

Hear again these final words from our Gospel reading today:

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.


After this transcendent, almost unimaginable mountain-top experience, There are two instructions from two different voices:

Listen to Jesus (the Son, the Beloved)

& then the Son, the Beloved, speaks, saying

“Tell no one about what you’ve seen.”


I don’t know about you, but I would have a hard time doing this. That is, not telling people about it.

I am sure Peter also had a hard time doing this. 


Of course, they eventually did tell people about it. This is a moment recorded in Mark, Luke, and Matthew’s Gospels.


In these accounts, Jesus shines in all his glory.


And then he comes back down the mountain.


Don’t tell anyone.


From here, Jesus is thrust back into the “stuff” of his life and ministry. Healings and teaching and arguments amongst his disciples and discussions about the suffering that is to come.


This story stands halfway between two other “revealings” of Jesus. His baptism (as we read back at the beginning of January) and his Cruicifixion.


With similar elements. 

As we transition in our church calendar, we are entering the time between revealings, as we move from the mountaintop of transfiguration, to the valley of Lent, to the hill of Golgotha.


And Jesus tells his disciples to not share what they had seen about Jesus on the mountain, because the Transfigured Jesus, as beautiful and as majestic and stunning as it was, was not a full, complete revelation of Jesus.


There was a revealing yet to come. The Jesus who would be handed over to death and would rise again It was glory before difficulty and challenge.


This is important for us, because the God we love and serve is most fully revealed in Christ…and specifically Christ crucified and resurrected.


This is why we pray, on this day, that we would “be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory.”


The Jesus that is captured for us in our gospel today is one glory…but there is another glory yet to come in this journey. The glory that comes by means of the path of difficulty, of suffering, or darkness and loss and pain…and God raising Jesus up again, with the scars to prove it.


This is such good news for us. If we are to be changed, to grow into God’s likeness from glory to glory, then we can know that the mountaintop is not the destination, but neither is the valley. The journey takes us from highs to lows and through the lowest, and raised up to new life. Again and again.


This week, I have talked with people who are in between glories. There was a death by suicide in our OEC community, a young person. I’ve heard of other parents and grandparents mourning deaths of despair: overdoses and mental illness. 

I’ve also been a person in-between glories. Illness and family challenges.


I need to be strengthened to bear my cross…to walk this path in faith. You need to be strengthened, too.


And we are not strengthened by platitudes. This is partially why Jesus says, don’t talk about this “glory moment” until I’ve died and resurrected. Those who have experienced loss and death and heartbreak and have come through it being unmade and remade…they tend not to speak in platitudes, in bumper-sticker, fluffy, condolences. In fact, they tend to say less and listen more. A lesson for us all. Perhaps some of us need to give up speaking-first for Lent… ;-) and instead take on the discipline of active listening.


Better yet, let us listen to the One, the Beloved, who knows what it is to bear a cross, who knows what is is to feel alone, to feel disappointed, to feel rejected, to feel misunderstood, to feel pain and loss and God-forsakenness. Perhaps our listening to our suffering siblings is a way to do just that.


Let us take time to attend to his voice in the coming weeks. Let him speak to us, even now, of God’s love and presence amongst us.


And trust that as we walk, as we listen, as we look in faith to the one whose glory includes experiencing and overcoming the worst that Sin and Death could offer…we too might also be changed.