Gen. 22:1-2,, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Romans 8:31b-34; Mark 9:2-10
DID THEY EVER FORGET THEIR EXPERIENCE?
Did they ever forget their experience?
Abraham, obeying what he felt God was calling him to do, difficult as it was, to offer his son, ..and then God intervenes. No, not your son, instead, a ram – “because you did not withhold your most beloved from Me, … I will bless you abundantly…your descendants, and through them all nations of the earth shall find blessing.”
Did they, Abraham, his son, their descendants, ever forget their experience?
Peter, James, and John, accompany Jesus up Mt. Tabor. In an unexpected moment, the 3 men experience Jesus as never before. Suddenly Jesus is radiant in His clothing, in His whole person! Beyond imagining! Who is this? Is He one of the prophets? Shall we build tents here? A Cloud overshadows them and they hear: “This is my Beloved Son. Listen to Him.” They look around and only Jesus is with them. They head down the mountain, back into ordinary life and the unknown future that lies ahead. Did they ever forgot their experience?
In Jesus, this must have been an experience of further deepening and strengthening of His experience in the Jordan River. When John was baptizing Jesus, He hears “This is my Beloved Son”. Do you think Jesus ever forgot this experience or did it sustain Him through the desert, in the midst of the needs of the crowds, in moments of solitude and conflict? That voice must have echoed in Jesus everyday, drawing Him evermore deeply into His identity and mission. Now, this moment on Mt Tabor, his close followers hear “This is my Beloved Son…Listen to Him”… Jesus identity as Beloved Son is not only confirmed. His mission is reaffirmed. And so is theirs, while yet to be discovered.
Do you think they ever forgot this experience? Do you think this experience sustained Peter, James and John in the days ahead, through thick and thin?
In Romans today we hear: “If God is for us, who can be against us? Will God not also give us everything else along with Him”.
Each of us have had those surprising moments when we are shown something which changed us and which we have never forgotten. This experience might have been when we were alone, with someone, in nature, praying, being still, in a Scripture verse, in a very painful, difficult time.
In very ordinary moments, God breaks in and reveals something of the mystery of God’s on-going presence right here, right now.
One day when I was in formation here in this chapel, I had just received Eucharist, was turning to walk back to my place and the front doorbell rang!!! My reaction was pretty intense: “Interruption”!!! Suddenly, from deep within me, a voice said: ”No, not interruption… Incarnation”.
This gift and challenge has accompanied me all these years. What is this “interruption” I am experiencing? An interruption of my plan ? Or Incarnation? What is God creating, calling me to in this very moment? What do I need to “see” or “hear” right now? What is it I need to let go of and receive?
Take a moment now: recall an experience of yours… when something “was given” you – something that deeply touched you, you came to know – you “saw” or “heard” suddenly … something about yourself, about life, about God…. and you have never forgotten it. And that experience changed you…has strengthened and sustained you every time you remember ….
So- do you think Jesus, His followers ever forgot their experience? Did their experiences sustain them? Did they, like Mary, ponder and treasure these moments in their hearts, and in recalling, find their way forward?
Elizabeth Johnston says: “The presence of the living God in the midst of pain bears creation forward with unimaginable promise.” (Ask The Beasts p. 217 ) I would add: The presence of the living God in the midst of everyday life… bears creation forward with unimaginable promise!
“All I have seen teaches me to trust all I have not yet seen” Emerson
Deuteronomy reminds us: “Remember how for forty years now,
the Lord has directed all your journeying…” DT 8:2
As we continue our journey, let us remember and ponder the deep treasures of our own experience. These moments change and shape us beyond imagining. They not only remain in us, they sustain us! Let us not forget!
As we celebrate Eucharist now, we hear again Jesus’ words: “Do this in memory of Me”!