The Transfiguration scene midway through Mark’s Gospel is the climactic crossroads where we must choose between staying in Galilee or going with Jesus to death in Jerusalem. In the previous chapter, Peter recognized Jesus’s true mission as Messiah and was quickly reprimanded for thinking that being the Messiah or his disciple saved a person from suffering. Jesus makes it clear. The only way to follow him is through the cross. The only way to save your life is to lose it.
The Transfiguration gives us a glimpse of that eternal life to come. So wouldn’t it be nice to just put up a few tents and stay a while to enjoy the view on God’s holy mountain? We know the answer. “There is no salvation for the soul nor hope for eternal life except in the cross,” wrote spiritual writer Thomas à Kempis in the 15th century.Let us come down the mountain and do the hard work of taking up our cross. Transfiguration awaits those who let go of the very thing they cannot lose. Click To Tweet
There is no Transfiguration without the cross; no conversion of heart until you have given up the very thing you cling to—privilege, status, belief in your own rightness. For the cross is that to which you say, I will give you anything but that, Lord. Anything.
Let us come down the mountain and do the hard work of taking up our cross. Transfiguration awaits those who let go of the very thing they cannot lose.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash.
Read more reflections on the Sunday readings here:
- The heart of the Eucharist
- Come and fill our hearts
- The slow work of the Spirit
- Listen for the Spirit
- Let’s be recognized