I have a post card here, its from … and the opening words are ‘wish you were
Whenever we have some good news or experience something really exciting, we want those closest to know about it. In fact, we want more than that, we want them to be apart of it; we want them with us, to experience what we are experiencing.
We are lucky in this day and age we have the technology to share special experiences; live with our friends. Using our phones or a web cam we can bring friends right into our moments of joy. Perhaps it’s a wedding or a party or a holiday. We have this technology because we love to share our joyful experiences with others, not just afterwards, but while we are actually experiencing it. However, this technology is still no substitute for having our family and friends really being there; experiencing along with us, the excitement, the joy and the wonder of what we are seeing and experiencing; we want them to have the same joy.
You and I like to share special moments and events, because most of the time our lives are often fairly ordinary, daily routines and schedules make our lives busy, but often not exciting. And sometimes this is the way it seems with God. Our relationship with him is fairly ordinary, nothing special. We routinely make ourselves busy with God; we pray to him, we give thanks to him, we receive from him grace and forgiveness, peace and everything we need for our bodies.
Yet this all happens in very mundane and ordinary ways. We wonder that perhaps, if we were to experience God in a more glorious and exciting way, if we could share his working with us, then we would understand and know him more; then we may even be closer to him.
Jesus did just that; shared his life. He did it with his disciples. He shared with them what was happening in his life; and invited them to join him. He shared with them that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things and to be killed. He shared with them that he would love them to be with him; to take up their cross and follow him. But did they feel closer to him? Did they experience the same joy in obedience as him? Did they even want to be there? Peter answers from us all when he realized what Jesus was talking about ‘Never Lord! This shall never happen to you.’
That’s right. To share in Jesus’ world is not what we would really want to do. When he invited the disciples to join him, they refused because they could not understand the meaning and purpose of sharing in suffering. ‘Lord, why would you want to suffer and die, why would you want us to be with you in all this?’ You and I don’t want others to share in our suffering, we want to spare them. Would you send a postcard from hospital saying ‘wishing you were here!’ No, we find it hard to comprehend suffering and avoid it at all costs.
Yet Jesus does not abandon his disciples to their misunderstandings, no, he encourages them all the more to come and join him; he wants his friends to experience who he really is; to truly know him; to be apart of his life. He invites his closest disciples, Peter, James and John to come and climb a mountain. To endure with him the hardship that comes with mountain climbing; the pain, the near falls, and the tiredness that comes with strenuous work.
And he calls them to do this, to be with him, so that they will share a special moment with him; an exciting moment when he is glorified. Jesus, as we do with our friends, wants his disciples to experience what he is experiencing and to share his joy with them. Then they may know who he is – that he is the Son of God. Jesus wants them to look beyond their suffering; to endure their current hardships of the mountain climb, so that they may experience, with him, the hidden Glory of God.
You and I are no different to the disciples. We take a look at our lives and the lives of others, and often all we see is the mundane and the ordinary; Or all we see is the mountain we have to climb. The mountains of ill health and hardship or loneliness and depression. And we think to ourselves as St Paul said ‘Never Lord, surely, this is not to be.’
Yet Jesus invites us to be a part of this. To take up our cross and follow him; to be with him so that he may share his life with you. He wants us to be where he is, even if this means we must climb a hard mountain. Jesus wants us to place our trust in him, in his word; Just as our Father in heaven invites us to saying ‘This is my Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him’.
To listen is to trust as the disciples did. To trust, that despite the mountain we may be climbing, or the ordinary and mundane things we are currently experiencing, Jesus is still the Son of God. And to listen is to hear and believe that hidden behind the norm, the mundane or the suffering, is the glory and power of God.
And sometimes as we follow, Jesus may still reveal his glory, just as he did with the disciples at the transfiguration. I would like to get Rosale to come and tell us about how God gave her a chance to experience his glory and power, even in the midst of suffering.
Despite what we see, and what Rosale saw with her daughter, her miracle healing helps us to understand that Jesus promises to be with us, and to heal us spiritually and calls us to share in his life. And he does just that, heal us and share his life with us, in the sacrament of Holy Communion. What looks to us as normal and mundane, is the power of God to save us. Hidden in, with and under the bread and wine is Jesus body and blood. And he invites us to be with him, to trust his word, as his Father announced, that as we eat and drink, he forgives us, heals us and gives us a share in his life.
Yes, we may not always see the power and glory of God, just as the disciples didn’t see it in Jesus, but this is why he is transfigured, and why it is recorded in the bible, so that we too may believe and truly know that Jesus is the Son of God. And so we may know when Jesus says ‘this is my body, this is my blood; given and shed for you’, that this is true. And that in this sacrament, as he did with the disciples, Jesus is calling us to share in his life. And he is calling us to share in his joy. Amen