|This Sunday’s readings – the Gospel reading in particular – always reminds me of Nazareth Farm. |
Luke 9:28-36 tells the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration. In it, Jesus takes his disciples up the mountain to pray, where his appearance is transfigured by a dazzling white light – the light of God. Peter, John, and James awake from a nap to see the transformed Jesus before them, with Moses and Elijah by his side (can you imagine?!). God confirms Jesus’ divinity, instructs the apostles present to listen to Jesus, and then vanishes.
Throughout Scripture, mountains are significant. They’re often associated with important events, or experiences of prayer or God’s teachings. Jesus preached the Beatitudes on the Sermon on the Mount, Moses received the 10 Commandments on a mountain, and Elijah found shelter in a mountain cave where he recognizes God’s voice not in the earthquake or fire, but in the stillness of silence. For people who have been to the Farm, everything about 665 Nazareth Farm Road calls to mind these scriptures – first, the actual mountain roads traveled on the way, but also the place of learning, prayer, and finding God’s voice in the quiet that is impossible to replicate back home. My favorite experience at the Farm, no matter what time of year I visit, is standing in the parking lot early in the morning – while the world is still quiet, the hollow is filled with mist, and everything is still. I love this seemingly mundane spot – a gravel parking lot – for both the silence it holds in the moment, and the anticipation of what that new day will bring when the sun comes and burns away the fog.
Outside of that hollow, life gets busy. Thinking of that time and place reminds me of how much I fill my life with noise – meetings, phone calls, social media notifications, music or Netflix on in the background. It fills life up so much that it’s hard to even remember how to shut it all off – sometimes the quiet moments actually feel uncomfortably foreign. When I’m in the middle of the noise, I don’t think too much about the lack of silence – until I’m reminded how much I miss it.
The second reading calls us out on this preoccupation, and reminds us of our goals. “Their minds are occupied with earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself” (Phil 3:20-21). Lent calls us to put aside distractions, take time out of our busyness and spend it with the Lord, and open our hearts to things we don’t necessarily pay attention to in our day-to-day lives. For when we do these things, even if they only last for a moment, we’re on a mountain – or in a foggy parking lot – with all of our attention turned toward God. A God who knows us, loves us, and is deeply committed to showing us his presence. This week, where and when can you stop, pray, and allow yourself to witness the Transfiguration?