Daily Reading for March 6 • The Last Sunday after the Epiphany

When I read, “Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves,” I recognize the promise of adventure and come along, at least in my imagination. I had read this story many times, repeatedly asking myself, “Why these three disciples?” Finally it dawned on me that impulsive, imperfect Peter, James who never gets much to say, and his brother John the beloved, were also chosen to walk with Jesus to Gethsemane on that final night before his arrest. That is why there were singled out for this walk up into the heights. . . .

What happened to Jesus’ friends when they reached the mountaintop is almost beyond imagination. The Jesus they thought they knew is transformed, transfigured, a blinding vision. Moses and Elijah, representing and embodying the law and the prophets, appear out of nowhere and start a conversation with Jesus. What were they talking about? We don’t have a clue, but neither do the disciples. They are overshadowed by a cloud, and then a voice comes from the cloud: “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” Peter, James, and John weren’t around for Jesus’ baptism, or they would have heard the same words, but with an added command: “Listen to him!” Implied, of course, is a deeper message: “Pay attention! This is no ordinary walk in the sunshine. If he is transfigured, then you are transformed. You won’t be the same again.”

From Walking Home: From Eden to Emmaus by Margaret Guenther. Copyright © 2011. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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