This Sunday is transfiguration Sunday. As part of the story, you will hear Peter ask Jesus if they should “stay here”, meaning in the mountain. Because the mountain is a good place to be.
However, this is also the point in the gospel where Jesus says, unfortunately, no. Jesus knows that the trip back down the mountain, literally and metaphorically, is necessary as he is about to begin the journey to the cross. And so, too, are we as the church.
Three days after transfiguration, we begin the season of lent and the six week, or 40 day, journey to the cross, and then to the resurrection, it is important however that we not look past the cross. While it’s tempting to say, “that’s ok, we know the rest of the story,” the cross is every bit as important as the resurrection. It is at the cross that Jesus takes on our death...our punishment for sin. It is at the cross that Jesus knows all our suffering and bears it as well. It is at the cross, in the deepest valley of death, that Jesus says, “know no fear.” Jesus bravely bears the cross faithfully. We also must brave the cross and die to our own sinfulness.
I pray that Lent will be a season for us to reflect on all that Christ has carried for us and carries for us, and WILL carry for us. I pray that we, too, may fast in the desert, preparing ourselves for death. And at the same time being mindful that Christ has defeated death in the cross.