My thoughts on Mark 9:2-9
When my wife, children and I first settled in AZ back in 1979, I realized that no matter where I looked I saw mountains. Some were little more than hills but the majority were huge mountains, many extending thousands of feet into the sky.
In 1984 we purchased a house in Peoria, AZ and soon I began hiking the “White Tank Mountains” which were located west of our home. I would take a lunch with me, mostly peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and I would sit on the summit. From there on clear days, I could see the entire “Valley of The Sun.” Each time I made this journey I felt a bit closer to God. I think I felt this way in part because of the journey, the “Goat Trail” was rough in those days especially after a heavy rain, but also because I knew I was on a mountain similar to the one where Jesus often went to pray.
In our Gospel story Jesus and his friends (Peter, James and John) go to the mountain top to pray and Jesus is Transfigured before them. It must have been a fantastic sight to see Moses and Elijah, two of the pillars of Hebrew faith, standing with Jesus. Peter overwhelmed by what he saw could not contain himself and felt he had to do something, he even suggested that he build booths or places of worship for Jesus, Elijah and Moses.
But the climax of the vision is when God, in the form of a cloud, says to the men, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”
As I sat atop the White Tank Mountains one Saturday years ago, I read this story and the thought came to me that each of us are also in a way “Transfigured” the moment we begin to set aside ourselves and start reaching to God in service of others. Some may call this a “Born Again Experience,” or a variety of other things; but to my mind, the moment we turn our lives over to God, God in turn says to us, “This is my Son (Daughter), the Beloved; listen to him (her)!”