Hope amidst clouded vision

Blog Bulletin 

Published on: Thursday February 8 2024, 2:25 pm

This Sunday, we find ourselves at the transition between Epiphany, the time of growing revelation of Christ in the world, and Lent, a period of preparation, self-scrutiny and testing of what it means to be followers of Christ; a time of refocussing towards the deep mystery of God’s giving of himself for us and to us in Cross and Resurrection.

The readings this Sunday retell something of God’s revelation of his glory and promise to his people.  The passages are full of the language of God’s presence shining out in blaze and wind, light in darkness.  We read of Elisha witnessing God’s taking of Elijah into heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2: 9-12), God’s creation, covenant and calling of the world (Psalm 50: 1-6), the experience of Peter, James and John dazzled by Jesus transfigured (Mark 9: 2-9) and Paul encouraging the Corinthians with the reminder that through Christ we may see the light of the knowledge of God’s glory. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

These passages fall at moments of great difficulty in the lives of those who are involved.  Elisha has lost his beloved leader and mentor Elijah, and must pick up his mantle.  The psalmist is reminding the people of the danger of turning away from God’s covenant and crying out for a transformation of their heart and soul.  Peter, James and John are struggling with beginning to understand properly what it means to recognise Jesus as Messiah and what it is going to mean to follow him.  Paul is urging the Corinthians not to lose heart in the struggle of being disciples and Church in the distractions and hostility of the world. 

These dazzling glimpses of God’s glory stand out through the fog and veil of our wandering, confusion, fear, hurt, doubt, anger, excuses.  They are a reminder to us of God’s constant presence and promise: a foretaste of the bright welcome at the end of the tunnel, the sudden inspirational view when the cloud lifts on the mountain-top. They are unexpected, awesome, life-changing.

And perhaps that is the point:  these bright moments are gifts when we most need them.  I bet Peter, James and John found it hard to describe to others just what they experienced, but it changed them.  Your bright moment is different from my bright moment, and receiving this touch from God may be confusing or downright terrifying, or may be found in a still, small moment.  However dazzling or fleeting, they are God’s gifts of invitation to change, of courage as we are called to the responsibility of discipleship, and of hope when it is hard to see the way. 

I pray that God blesses you with glimpses of his glory when you most need him, and that Christ lights up the path for you in dark times.

Lucy G

Image with thanks to © Caroline P Swain – On top of Beinn Beula, 2023