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.
John, I’ve read through your blog backwards, and the memories of the trip are flooding back. Jet lag was a BEAR! I too, understood the drowsy apostles better. It would have been quite a trek up the mountain. Your insights each day of the trip were marvelous to read, to remember. I’m reminded of the sign as you leave White House Retreat…”You are now entering the Mission Fields”. Back to our daily grind, with new insights, new memories, and every so often they erupt to the fore front of our mind and give us a new perspective. I like your slot canyon picture too, wasn’t that another incredible place of God’s beauty??