Perhaps Peter should have traveled by taxi up to the top of Mount Tabor. That experience certainly would have kept him from falling asleep.
All the same – having recently returned from the Holy Land – I find myself empathizing just a bit with the sleepy saint. Jet lag has been beating me to a pulp all this past week. And try as I might, I just can’t seem to convince my heart and mind that we’ve now come full-bore into the season of Lent.
So yeah, when I read Luke’s version of the Transfiguration this morning, I found myself judging Peter a little bit less…and understanding him and the other boys just a little bit more…as I reflected on this little nugget:
Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw [Jesus’] glory and the two men standing with him.
I myself was standing atop Mount Tabor only a couple of weeks ago (having survived the death-defying high-speed ascent provided by our taxi shuttle). Our time at the Church of the Transfiguration came early-on in the pilgrimage, however. So already, I realized, the memory had begun to fade just a bit.
It’s a beautiful church – among the most appealing we encountered during our two weeks in Israel. And we celebrated a soul-stirring liturgy there. I remember, especially, the wonderful acoustics in the lower chapel – how they amplified our 40 voices, to make them seem like 400.
In a word, there was glory to be found atop Mount Tabor.
Two weeks hence, it’s a bit startling to realize how the glory has dimmed a bit in my memory. And this insight, back home: How “sleepy” I can often become, even when I’m blessed to be in close contact with the Real Presence.
So I resolved, today, as part of my Lenten practice…to try to act more fully awake during the remainder of our 40 days in the spiritual desert.
And in making this resolution, I am delighted to discover the God-wink I received in return…
A photo, taken atop Mount Tabor, that provides a glimpse of the dazzling white light we encountered there.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.