Peeking Behind the Curtain
Mark 9:2 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, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 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.” 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
This incident, known as the Transfiguration. is a moment where God bears witness to his son. The curtain is held back just a little for us to see what is happening behind the scenes. Jesus’ Divinity is exposed for those present where they catch a glimpse of the glory of God that is dwelling among them. The same voice that was heard at Jesus’ baptism again confirms his divine paternity and implores humanity to listen to him. It is the view behind the curtain; God dwelling among humankind.
The view doesn’t end on this mountain but points to the final resurrection. In this way the transfiguration is a place where, according to Ephrem the Syrian, “the divine glory is adapting itself unpretentiously to the disciples’ capacity to receive it.”
The Lord who is beyond measure
measures out nourishment to all,
adapting to our eyes the sight of himself,
to our hearing his voice,
His blessing to our appetite,
His wisdom to our tongue.
Ephrem the Syrian, HYMNS ON PARADISE 9.27.
This is humanity being allowed to peek behind the curtain, catching a small glimpse of what is to come.
It’s possible to peek behind the curtain and find places where we catch a glimpse of God’s glory intersecting with human life.
It may quite possibly be in the life of the redeemed and transformed drug addict.
The resurrected marriage brought to new life through the power of the Holy Spirit becomes a reflection of the divine glory present behind the curtain.
A quiet moment in devotion before the Lord when suddenly the Holy Spirit breaks in on our private worship and we experience God in a way we would never have imagined becomes a peek behind the curtain.
Corporate worship where God’s people gather together can be that place where suddenly we experience God in a way we never imagined.
Maybe the spoken word becomes transformational, or the time gathered around the table becomes a moment of transfiguration.
God is still in the business of revealing himself to us through Christ. We may be invited into more transfiguration experiences than we realize. The disciples on the mountain weren’t sure what they were experiencing and Peter’s response was a bit foolish. We may find ourselves in the very same place and yet, ultimately they realized that they had experienced something beyond themselves. We are invited to step into a relationship with Christ that leads us to something beyond ourselves, and something beyond human explanation. It’s just a little peek behind the curtain of the Divine and the mystery of God in us.
Lord, we want to live faithfully in you and with childlike understanding embrace all of who you are. Amen.