WORD MADE FLESH

Second Sunday in Lent — March 20, 2011
Genesis 12.1-4| Psalm 33 | 2 Timothy 1.8-10 | Matthew 17.1-9

Kathleen Giffin

March 14, 2011

Every Lent, on the Second Sunday, we hear a Gospel reading of the Transfiguration, the revelation to the disciples of the divinity of Jesus. Each of the three Scriptural accounts contain the same basic elements - the three disciples climb the mountain with Jesus who is transfigured before them; Moses and Elijah appear; and they hear the voice of the Father telling them: "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!"

Matthew's version is the only one that follows the Father's admonition to "listen to him" with these words to the disciples: "Get up and do not be afraid."

I see a particular significance in these first words that Jesus speaks in this moment of the revelation of his glory. He tells the disciples, and therefore us as well, that not only are we to have no fear, but that we have to get up and get moving.

It is not enough to sit quietly, with no fear; there is an action, a movement required of us, and in that, particularly, we need to have trust.

Our other readings this Sunday point to actions of discipleship that require courage. Abram is called to leave his country, his kindred and his father's house to enter an unknown land that God would lead him to.

He is told to forsake all that creates security for us as people - the familiar, the relationships, the status and position we have - and give himself fully to the new life that God is bringing him to.

'This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am, well pleased.' – Matthew 17.5

'This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am, well pleased.'

Matthew 17.5

In the Second Reading, Paul tells the disciples: "Join with me in suffering for the Gospel."

The invitation to leave our own sources of security, surrender our will and plans to God, and follow wherever that takes us, is a universal call. Abram may have been the first to hear it in that way, but again and again in the Gospels Jesus tells the disciples that if they are to belong to him, they must leave their old lives of self-sufficiency and the building of their little kingdoms and follow him.

PRICE OF FAITH

Paul reminds us of the consequences of that, for it will always take us into suffering as we follow the road that inevitably leads to the cross and the glory beyond.

Lent is a time that we especially need to hear those words of encouragement, "Get up and do not be afraid." Every year we get another chance to get it right, to live, even if briefly, a sharper, clearer example of discipleship.

TRUST AND COURAGE

It takes courage to challenge and break free of old patterns of independence and self-indulgence. It requires immense trust to daily surrender ourselves and face ever-changing circumstances and opportunities with single-minded commitment to serve God.

But however deeply we have given ourselves to God, however much we have based our security on our relationship with him, there is always another step to take in the journey to the cross and resurrection.

(Kathleen Giffin kgif@telus.net)