Today is the feast of the Transfiguration, when Jesus revealed His spiritual and Godly essence in physical form to the three apostles. His revelation, and God’s voice from the clouds, cemented the faith (even though it was tested later) of his three companions that Jesus truly was the chosen one of God.
When I reflect on these readings at this time of my life, I find Peter’s words resonate with a different meaning than perhaps they have had in the past. He urges the crowd to be attentive to his eyewitness and prophetic message, as they would pay attention to a lamp in a dark place. He suggests that their attention should last “until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” Dawns and morning star risings are frequent – Peter didn’t say “again” but I think reading this recurring element into his admonition makes sense. This message of faith says that faithful attention may not bear immediate fruit, but that if you keep focused on the lamp that shines continuously, a dawn will come and the morning star will rise again in your heart. Without night there cannot be dawn, or a morning star, and so periods of darkness are part of our human experience.
We all go through periods of downness, when things don’t seem to hang together the way we think they should. Our faith in God is tested, our belief in the rightness of what we are doing and how we are living our lives is challenged. Peter himself experienced these times – the walk on water, the denials in the courtyard – and yet kept his eyes on the lamp that was the transfigured Christ. Peter was an eyewitness, and still strayed. We don’t have the personal experiences and memories that Peter did, and so it is much harder for us to “keep the faith.” At times we can feel the morning star rise in our heart, but then it slips away into the dark reality of our human existence, only to rise again later.
One thing that helps when I feel disconnected is to reflect on
the times when I felt the dawning. When I think of the good that
God has done through me during my life, it reassures me that the
morning star has risen for me.
And so my prayer today is to keep my eyes on the light of the lamp as I wait for the morning star to rise in my heart.
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