Lent, Ukraine And Transfiguration

At this time in the western church’s year we accompany Christ in the six week journey through Lent. On the Sunday before Lent, we think about Jesus’ testing journey to Jerusalem where he was persecuted, betrayed and executed but first he was transfigured with three friends up a mountain.

Jesus had warned his twelve lieutenants that he would suffer and be betrayed. They don’t want to hear about it.  They had recognized him as the Messiah but they had made the Messiah in their own national image.  Their Messiah would overthrow the Roman Empire and re-establish a Jewish city and temple.  Have you viewed Louis Theroux’ interviews entitled ‘Forbidden America’? Young Gen Z white male Americans agitate for a white Christian America in the name of Christ. They have no room for native, black or brown Americans, they are misogynistic, they use a swear word every other sentence – they have made Christ in their own self-centered image.  We do the same in diluted form. We promote a capitalist or a Socialist or a Hindu Christ.  Jesus in effect said to his fans who cast him in their own false image: I am the Suffering Servant the prophet Isaiah depicted as the Messiah, the Messiah who will not crush a bruised reed. I am the Messiah who loves sinners even unto death; I am the Messiah who will be misunderstood, mistreated and crucified; I am the Eternal Lamb pf God, I am the Defenceless Love.  Come, my three closest friends, Be with me in this desert, be with me in this period of disillusionment, defeat and loss.

Othat mountain Moses, the template for all great nation-builders, and Elijah, the template for all prophets, are manifested each side of him. They come to strengthen him and his faithful flock. The realization dawns that we do not have to choose between a false messiah and a failed messiah – we have an eternally transforming messiah who  wants us to know that he fulfils all that is true and worthy in the Law and the Prophets.

Moses was a nation builder. The Ten Commandments he brought from God are the foundations for any civilized people, for they are honest, pure, greed-free, community-minded  and accountable. Elijah founded schools which taught people to listen to God. He is the archetype for Listeners to God. It is no good coming to church if we don’t play some part in trying to build a just society based on the Ten Commandments.  It is no good coming to church if we don’t learn the lost art of listening to God.

When they descended from the mountain Jesus healed a sick only-son. All those around were impacted by the greatness of God. Jesus is the One who goes through trials and comes out the other end transforming us. We can be transformed and transforming people.

Our brothers and sisters in Ukraine have to suffer betrayal and some have to suffer death. So I sent this tweet: 'Lord Jesus, who before betrayal and death experienced transfiguration that brought lasting transformation to the world, bring transformation to the world through your suffering children in Ukraine.'

We can be suffering children, yes, and we can be transformed and transforming people too.

Posted at 15:33pm on 28th February 2022
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