Have you ever had a “wow” moment where something happened that was so remarkable all you could say was “wow” or you saw a place or thing so beautiful that all you could say was “wow”? I have been to quite a few of the national parks in our country and I would say that there has been a sight, at least one, in each park that renders you speechless and all you can say is “wow” because your mind is so overwhelmed no other words come to mind. I am in awe of mountains, any mountains but ones that you see in Glacier Park or Estes Park for instance are definitely “wow” moments. There is something so majestic about those peaks as you look up at them. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be at the base of Mt. Everest and to be able to see to the top if you ever could. Then if you were able to go to the top, can you imagine what the view must be like? “Wow”
But “wow” moments can be something smaller and less obvious than a magnificent mountain. What would it be like to witness a butterfly coming out of its cocoon, knowing that it used to be a worm? Seeing a rainbow in the sky is another “wow” moment, especially if you remember the significance of the rainbow where God promised that He would never destroy the whole earth again as he did with the great flood.
You have had a “wow” moment, what comes next? Does that moment leave you inspired to react in some way? Perhaps it is the one thing you needed to finish a project, write a poem, or create a masterpiece whether it is painted, knit, sewn, or some other type of craft. Perhaps, it inspires you to have the faith needed to be able to move on from there, better prepared to handle what comes next.
This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday. If you read the scripture from Mark you know it is talking about when Jesus takes 3 of his disciples with Him to a mountain top. Jesus had been talking with his disciples about the time coming when He would die. They were struggling with that because for them He was the Messiah. Why should He die? This is why Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with Him to a secluded place on the mountaintop where they begin to pray. They fall asleep and when they wake they see Jesus standing before them with His clothes a dazzling white and with Him are Elijah and Moses. Can you imagine opening your eyes and seeing that image before you? I would think it could render one speechless other than a whispered “wow”. Then a cloud comes over them and from the cloud they hear a voice saying “This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him!” When they look around, once again it is just Jesus before them. Again, “wow”.
So what was the purpose of taking those 3 disciples with Him to the mountaintop and having them experience what they did? This man who they knew as their teacher and also the Messiah, had been in many ways just like them, He was human. He performed miracles but He looked and talked just like them. Then He starts talking about having to die and they are confused. Yes, He is like us but isn’t He also the Messiah, why should he need to die? It was causing them to wonder if He really was the Messiah. By taking 3 of them up to the mountaintop where they experienced seeing Jesus, glowing white and talking with Elijah and Moses, it helped them to see that yes, He was the Messiah. Then to have God talk to them from above and tell them that Jesus was his Son, and they should listen to Him. It just reinforced the fact that even though He had been with them and was human, He was more than just human. He was the Messiah, He was God’s son.
This was the message that needed to be said to carry the disciples through the times ahead. They needed to be reminded or to have it reinforced, that Jesus wasn’t just a servant to the people; He was the Messiah, the son of God.
For us, having this “wow” moment is a good way to begin the Lenten season that starts this coming Wednesday which is Ash Wednesday. As we go through this time where we reflect on the time that Jesus was on earth, preparing ourselves for Maundy Thursday, where we celebrate the Last Supper, then Good Friday, where we remember that Jesus died on the cross, and then Easter when He was resurrected, let us remember the “wow” moment that Peter, James, and John experienced. It will help us to remember that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, who spent time on earth to teach the lesson of eternal life, then died on the cross to be raised again so that we could have eternal life. In our minds, their “wow” moment can become our “wow” moment as well.
Picture that mountaintop experience in your mind. Use that time to reflect on the significance of the season of Lent that is before us. Amen.