The Transfiguration: Lost in a cloud

This morning as I was praying with the Sunday Gospel (the Transfiguration story from Luke), I was struck first by Peter's nervous attempt to take control of the situation, and then the cloud.  In case you need a refresher:

Jesus has taken Peter, John and James up to the mountain to pray.
While there, his face changed and his clothes turned dazzling white.
Meanwhile, two men appeared, Moses & Elijah, talking with him.

Peter and his buddies, who had fallen asleep, suddenly woke up.
Needless to say, they were a little freaked out by what they saw.
So Peter says to Jesus:  Good thing we're here! We'll build some tents for you and your friends.
Nervous energy anyone?

Just then, and before he could embarrass himself any further,
a cloud came and cast a shadow over them.
In the darkness, they were able to own their fear.
In the darkness, they heard a voice.
"This is my chosen Son; listen to him."
They opened their eyes.  No need to build a tent.  Jesus was alone.
They fell silent and didn't talk about what they had seen.

This version of the story of course has some editorial comments by yours truly.  Yet they reflect my own experience.

I resonate with the experience of seeking to take control of a situation that is really beyond my understanding.  Rather than entering the darkness, rather than holding the tension and fear of the unknown, I have a tendency, like Peter, to try to plan my way to stability.  Jesus suddenly has two friends? Let's build them each a tent.  Good thing I'm here!

Life, of course, is not so easily "solved."  Eventually, we get lost in the cloud.  Darkness comes whether we're looking for it or not.  And sometimes that is a good thing, because in the cloud it's not so easy to plan your way out of a situation.  Instead, in the cloud we are invited to confront the messiness of life, and to awaken to the reality that God is there with us, in the mess.  If we can quiet our own voices, it is easier to hear God's.

Praying with this Scripture this morning, I was reminded of a song by indie singer songwriter Sufjan Stevens along the same theme, The Transfiguration.  He tells the Scripture story, and then ends with this refrain:

Lost in the cloud, a voice: Have no fear! We draw near!
Lost in the cloud, a sign: Son of man! Turn your ear!
Lost in the cloud, a voice: Lamb of God! We draw near!
Lost in the cloud, a sign: Son of man! Son of God!

So I spent the morning with this Scripture, with this song, and created a little video prayer reflection.

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