Let me put this morning's Gospel story of the Transfiguration into some context for you.
Believe it or not, it's been ten weeks since Christmas. Yes, ten weeks. Imagine.
Ten weeks since the shepherds saw the bright star in the dark sky and followed it to find the infant Jesus. We celebrated Christmas for twelve days before we began to celebrate the eight week season of Epiphany, when three wise men from the East followed that same bright star seeking to find the Incarnation of God.
And this morning we read about the moment that Jesus, who was the reason that star was shining so brightly in the dark night sky in Bethlehem, is so filled with the glory of God that his whole face is shining as bright as the sun and he was "transfigured".
It is important then, to pause here, as this eight week journey into Epiphany, the season of Light, comes to an end and before we begin another eight week journey into the season of somber darkness known as Lent.
Before we travel forty days and forty nights into the wilderness with Jesus, I want to take us back, way back to the beginning of the story.
how the story begins?
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.Light always follows the darkness.
Darkness always follows Light.
Just as the day follows the night and the night follows the day
The sun follows the moon and the moon follows the sun.
That's the pattern set right from the beginning of the story. It's the pattern of the story of our lives as daughters and sons of God.
It's part of the reason we are People of Hope. The promise of Hope is in the very DNA of creation.
There's yet another pattern. After God said "Let there be light", God said that it was "good". Indeed, after each one of God's creation is called into being, God proclaims it "good"
I don't know this for a fact, but I think there's something God said just before and directly after pronouncing the creation "good".
If we had the original manuscript, I'm betting that if you look closely, you might just see in parenthesis that God says this:
And then it gets dark. And then it gets light. And then, it's amazing - something we couldn't have asked for or imagined.
Some of you know that I am a Hospice Chaplain. Sometimes, as it becomes clear that the end of life is rapidly approaching, one of my patients will be brave enough to say to me, "Chaplain, You know that I believe in God. You know that I believe in eternal life, But, I'm afraid."
And, if I'm feeling particularly brave, I tell them the truth that I know:
And, like Peter, we may even see those who have gone on before.
So be not afraid. This is good. Just wait till you see what's next.
This Wednesday, we will enter the Dark Wilderness of the Season of Lent. For forty days and forty nights we will be asked to enter more fully into the life of Jesus, even as Jesus enters more fully into the experience of being more fully human.
For eight weeks, we will be asked to look at the frailty of our humanness, the brokenness of our relationships, and the limits of our mortality.
It can be a pretty dark and scary time, touching into ancient wounds, giving rise to old anxieties.
But, at the end of that journey we will experience the inexplicably glorious light of the Resurrection.
So, as we enter Lent, don't be afraid. This is good! Just wait till you see what's next.
Think of it as practice for when we'll be transfigured into the glorious Light Eternal of God.