L2A – 5 Mar 2023
Guided by a Cloud
To have a sense of where you’re going is something that is so crucial. We all now take it for granted with our phones offering us GPS and our cars giving us guidance and direction along the way. But it’s still within our living memory of what it was like to try and find your way somewhere without the aid of a GPS. And I still remember my attempts at navigating across Europe in the old days. When all you had was some form of a paper map, and usually in a road atlas. The maps were not sequentially numbered, and so you’re on map 16 and you had to go to the next one, which is map 37 and then try and go to map 83 to get to the next part of the map. Trying to work out where the heck you were heading? Within Germany on the autobahn at 160 clicks. And realising that, yes, you know you’re driving very fast, but in the completely wrong direction. And that was a very frustrating experience that I had not just once, but several times on that particular trip. To know where you’re going – to have that sense of, that’s my direction. That’s my orientation.
One of the the things is that we always have this reading of the transfiguration on the the 2nd Sunday in Lent. But it hasn’t always been the case. In fact, after we put the lectionary together after the Second Vatican Council, the other churches said that’s a really good idea. And so they adapted and adopted our electioneering and formed what is called the revised common lectionary. But in the OCL they. Went to an even earlier tradition within the church. And so there the. Transfiguration wasn’t on the 2nd Sunday. Lent, but the Sunday before Lent, so you have Transfiguration Sunday. That’s the Sunday before Lent.
And it reminds us of where we’re going. It reminds us because it’s the transfiguration isn’t just about Jesus in all his glory and all of his splendour and all of his wonder. To see that metamorphosis, which is the Greek and we know that from the cocoon just slowly being changed and transformed and the the little grubby, messy, ugly creature slowly being changed and being able to make its way out of the the cocoon, into the metamorphosis of the butterfly. That’s our destiny. Christianity only makes sense if we understand that it’s about this slow – sometimes very gradual, and sometimes it seems that there’s not a lot of of kind of action happening. But this transformation that comes when we see where we’re headed. When Abraham was called to go, there was no GPS. There was no real sense of direction.
Just go leave your family, your country, your people, your whole sense of purpose, your whole sense of of what defines you and go. Go simply to a place. That I will show you. I guess he knew that he’d come from the east, so the only direction to go on that Fertile Crescent was West. It’s in the valley. There’s mountains all around. You’re not going to cross those mountains very easily. So from Aran, he heads West. But it’s interesting that the the final verse of our reading today, it’s kind of halfway through the sentence, so Abraham set off to go to the land that the Lord will show him. And His nephew brought with him. Leave your family and your country and your kin to a place where will show you; and he heads off. But he brought his nephew Lot, kind of with him. And there’s no other commentary on that here in Genesis 12. There’s nothing to say about why that’s bad or why that’s wrong. I mean, we should be able to read, leave everything OK? He leaves everything.
Except this and this and this, and how often do we do the same? You know, we strip ourselves and go. Yes. Look, I’m living such an incumbent life now because I’m down to 16 devices rather than 20 and it seems amazing. But this this call and then the. Next few chapters. All you see are these constant stories of why what being with him is a problem, and why he gets in trouble and why the land is not big enough and and. All of this. If only we can remember what the Lord is is inviting us and calling us into. And so that transformation that Jesus has on the mountain. That moment when? He is just there. In all of his naked glory, the clothes transformed and and glowing and or white and bright and and all of these hyperlinks. And whenever I work with the document that Diane has prepared, you know there’s always just all these blue underlined words all the way down the pages because he’s referencing all these other. Documents and showing the sources and showing the Connexions to what has happened. And this gospel is, you know, should be doing the same. In our mind, there should be all these blue underlined words all the way down the page, because the author is is reminding us of all of those other scenes throughout the history of of Israel. There on the mountain of Mount Sinai when Moses. Was shining and bright because he’d been in the presence of the Lord when Elijah also had experienced the same, and it’s no wonder that they’re the two people that are there with Jesus on the mountain.
They represent both the prophets and the the law of Moses, and the whole sense of the Torah and the instructions and the guidance. But they also represent those who have offered themselves into that splendour. They’ve stepped into the cloud, they’ve stepped into that presence of God and you know, God is doesn’t have to be found in any particular place or any particular situation that God is able to be. Anyway, God chooses, and that moment of the cloud descending, you know, reminds us that we can be anywhere and God will be available to us, reminding us, calling us, inviting us more deeply into the life of God. And so as we continue our journey. Three left. Let’s remember that that’s our direction. That’s our orientation. Our focus is heading towards love towards the love that matters more towards the life that we’re invited into to continue to take one more step today, closer to the way of love and the way of goodness.