Scripture Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent
by Jim Corder
Reading I: Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18
Reading II: Philippians 3:17– 4:1 or Phil 3:20 – 4:1
GOSPEL: Luke 9:28b-36
Up On the Mountain
I love roller coasters! The thrill, the speed, the dips and turns all create a very exciting ride. My favorite roller coaster at Cedar Point is the Magnum. When it was first built, it was the fastest coaster in the world. As time passes by, faster and taller coasters are built, but the Magnum is still my favorite.
The View is Tremendous
Yes, the Magnum is a great ride! As you leave the station, there is a quick dip and then you take an extreme right turn before beginning your ascent up the great mountain. Slowly moving up the giant hill increases the anticipation. And just when you think you must be near the top, you look up to see there is still more to go before you reach the summit.
For a brief moment at the top of the mountain, you are absolutely still. And if you are quick enough, you will be able to see a lot of interesting things. A brief look around you will allow you to see who has joined you on the adventure. You are also able to look behind you and see where you have been. Scanning further, you can see the bottom of the hill as well as the rest of the track.
You can see not only what lies behind, but also what lies ahead. You can see where you will be going next, with a clarity that is only possible from this vantage point. If you are quick enough, as a bonus, you can gaze in wonder at how much time and attention to detail it must have taken to make such a beautiful park.
People Are Changed
During the Second Sunday of Lent, we hear the story of the “Transfiguration of Christ.” Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain to pray – and they got a lot more than they bargained for. They came face to face with Moses and Elijah, and Jesus’ clothing became as white as anything they had ever seen. As if that were not enough to scare them to death, from the clouds came the voice of God saying, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” Then all at once they were again alone with Jesus.
Jesus took them to the mountaintop to see something he wanted them to never forget. What we don’t hear this week is that in the verse immediately following this text it says, “The next day they came down the mountain and a large crowd met them.” Then the scriptures recount the healing of a boy with a demon. Imagine how Peter, James, and John must have felt seeing this miracle after what they had just experienced on the mountaintop! They would never be the same. That’s the way it is with us.
Up On the Roller Coaster Mountain
Remember the Magnum? Life is a lot like being on a roller coaster. We are moving fast most of the time, yet every once in a while we end up at the top of the mountain. And just like Peter, James, and John we are, for a brief moment, stopped at the top. We are able to see who is on the journey with us, we are able to see where we have been, and get a clearer glimpse of where our journey will take us. And, if we look carefully enough, we can see just how much time, effort, and attention to detail God must have taken to make this beautiful world in which we live.
God takes us to the mountain many times in our lives. It is at those times that we see what life is all about with greater clarity. And that clarity is often brought about because of the events, circumstances, and people in our lives. Perhaps it is because of a birth and the joy of new life; or the sorrow and pain we feel over the death of someone we love.
It can be as simple as a retreat day, a walk in nature, a conversation with a good friend, a homily that really touches us. Or it can be something as monumental as overcoming an addiction, recovering from a serious injury or surviving a great illness. But no matter what, each trip to the mountain leaves us very different. We are never the same. As we come down, we have a little more awareness and leave with a little more perspective. Perhaps the greatest message we will hear is when God reminds us, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
So let us pray that, as we continue our Lenten Journey, we may be aware of the many opportunities we will have to visit the mountain top, and the many times that Jesus will try to teach us the most important lessons in life. Let us also pray that, as we come down to the rest of the world after Jesus has taught us lessons from the mountaintop, we remember that Jesus will accompany us on the journey, just like he did with Peter, James, and John before us. Jesus is always right beside us on this roller coaster we call life!
When was a time that God took you to “the mountain?”
What did you see while you were there?
How were you changed when you came down?
Copyright © 2004 – 2016 by Jim Corder
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