In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus and three of his closest friends go for a walk together.
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves.
Peter and James and John get to be alone with Jesus, spending the day with him climbing a mountain. He leads them, just as the Good Shepherd leads his sheep. Wouldn't that be special? They must feel so good inside.
And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.
Transfigured means Jesus looks different. He is still Jesus--he is still the person that Peter and James and John know and love--but he looks different. I wonder how he looks?
Jesus' clothes look different, too! They become dazzling white. That means they are so bright, they are almost too bright to look at! His clothes have become Light. There is not a speck of darkness in them.
No one on earth can make clothes like this. Who makes them dazzling white?
We know that Jesus says,
"I am the light of the world." (John 8:12)
I wonder if the Light of Jesus changes his clothes to dazzling white. Peter and James and John can actually see the Light of the World now, can't they? Maybe now they know what this means.
Peter and James and John are not used to seeing Jesus this way, They do not know what to think. When they are confused, this is what they hear:
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”
Whose voice could that be?
Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
Jesus is still Jesus--he is still the one Peter and James and John know and love. But now they know a little bit more about him. They know whose Son he is, and they know he is loved. They know he is the Light of the World, even if they cannot always see this light.
There comes a day when Jesus dies, and Peter and James and John see his light go out. They think that darkness is stronger than light. They do not remember right away what they have seen on this mountain. They do not remember that the Light of Jesus is dazzling, there is not a speck of darkness in it.
But we know something that Peter and James and John do not know. After Jesus dies, God fills Jesus with new life--Risen life that can never end. And this new Risen life is dazzling light. The Light of Jesus' Risen life can never go out. Then Peter and James and John will remember this walk up the mountain when the Light of Jesus makes even his clothes dazzling white.
Jesus does not keep his Risen life all to himself. He shares it with Peter and James and John. He wants to share it with all people. He wants to share it with us. At church there is a huge candle called the Paschal candle. It is the biggest candle in the church. It reminds us of the Risen life of Jesus, that dazzling light that can never go out. When we are baptized, a candle is lit from the Paschal candle and is given to us. The dazzling light is on our little candle. What can this mean?
On the day of our baptism, we wear a white garment--clothes that have not a speck of darkness in them. For a moment, we are transfigured, just like Jesus on the mountain. Everyone gathered sees the dazzling white garment and the dazzling light of our candle. What do they know? For a moment, everyone can see the full light of God, the Light of Jesus' Risen life, dazzling in us.
Peter and James and John do not see the Light of Jesus dazzling all the time. Usually he looks normal, like everyone else. His Light is hidden. But for a special moment on the mountain, they get a peek at it. We don't wear our Baptism garment every day, and our little candle is put away in a box. People do not see the Light we carry inside. We do not see the Light they carry either. Or do we? I wonder if there are other moments when we get a peek at Jesus' Risen life dazzling around us?