Grace and Peace to you.
Two men, Moses and Elijah, were talking to him.
They appeared in glory and were speaking of his exodus,
which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Most translations say “departure” but the Greek word is “exodus.” His death in Jerusalem is not a mere exit, but an exodus, a mass movement in which Jesus will lead us. It is a journey, not a static moment. From the mount of transfiguration stretches the Way of Jesus, a journey of liberation from what oppresses us, a journey from what we know into something unknown, across the sea of chaos into a new Creation, a journey of death and new life.
As he has just told them, it is the way of the cross. This is no metaphor, but his own actual suffering. Jesus prays, contemplating his death, already in Gethsemane, alone in the world. Already he is in arduous prayer while his disciples drift off to sleep. And into that agonized place of prayer comes a support team, two father figures, guardian angels, to encourage him. Moses and Elijah know about journeys, and about self-giving, and people’s resistance; and they come to talk with him about the path he faces. For a moment Jesus is not leading his disciples: he’s just gathering strength, wrapped in the warm, splendid embrace of God, which shines like light.
Of course the disciples don’t get it. What for Peer is a mountaintop experience is a moment of somber poignancy for Jesus. But Peter is clueless. This is not the last time he will find himself sleeping through Jesus’ prayer, or lost in a fog, disoriented at the very moment Jesus reveals his glory, unable to say the right thing or affirm Jesus. But that is just what Jesus is preparing for: to love us even when we are in denial.
Before him?and before us as well?stretches the path to the cross. But for the moment there is simply the comfort of God, a reassuring dawn, a loving voice. Even when he is most alone he is not alone.
And then the moment passes, and the journey begins, down the mountain.
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