Second Sunday of Lent
Creation Reveals God’s Glory
“Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he
was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.”
One day on the golf course, a huge storm rolled in. My foursome huddled into a nearby shelter to wait it out. The thunder crashed around us, and the lightning lit up the sky. The weather was both frightening and awesome. The storm rolled out as fast as it arrived. Within moments, a beautiful rainbow adorned the green rolling hills of the golf course. It was a full rainbow. I felt both relieved and awed. I was keenly aware of God’s presence in my relief and in the mystical nature of the rainbow. As the light was diffused into different colors, I had a glimpse of creation reflecting God’s glory. The disciples who accompanied Jesus up the mountain experienced God’s glory through creation—on a mountain top and enveloped in a cloud. It was in the midst of creation that Jesus was transfigured and Divine Presence was revealed.
To a Jew of the first century, the story of the Transfiguration, with its mountain and dark cloud, and the mention of Moses and Elijah, would be clear indications that a powerful God moment was occurring. These experiences are called theophanies or intense manifestations of God’s presence at special times and places. In biblical literature, theophanies are decisive events in which the presence of God is revealed in visible form through natural phenomena such as fire, clouds, storms, lightning, and thunder and in the voice of God. Theophanies thus bring the Divine Presence into an intimate relation with humanity, imparting God’s message of hope.
I believe God continues to visit us today in theophany-like experiences. I like to call them God moments. When we have experiences we can’t explain and think that we have felt God’s powerful presence—that’s a God moment. Even if it is just for a second, we know that something beyond ourselves has deeply touched our lives. When we experience these moments, it is important that we share them with one another. Sharing these simple moments of grace can offer others hope and reassurance.
The hope presented by these God moments is that we, too, will be transfigured—changed just a bit to live more fully as followers of Christ, knowing more deeply that Jesus’ identity and mission cannot be understood apart from the cross and resurrection. Peter wanted to build booths and stay on the mountaintop. However, we, like the apostles, can’t stop the clock or bask in the radiance of these tangible God moments. These experiences must move us forward with confidence that God is leading us, and that what lies ahead is even greater than what we have already experienced.
Sister Terry Rickard, OP
Adapted from LIVE LENT! Year C © 2019 RENEW International