Once upon a time I was very suspicious when life seemed to be really good, as if happiness was a dire warning! There seemed to have been so many times when from a high I crashed down into a low. I have learned, of course, that life is always a mix of good and difficult, that often the seeming disaster does have a silver lining, and the assurance of good times can carry me through when things get tough. I have learned to be better at noticing the many blessings of life, so often unrecognised amidst the grumbles.
On Sunday we read the story of the transfiguration, a literal ‘high’ as Jesus takes his close friends up a mountain to pray and his communion with God is so close that the glory breaks through physically as well as spiritually. “He was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.”
But this moment of glory is the turning point in the gospel story. As Jesus comes down from the mountain he ‘turns his face towards Jerusalem’ and begins the journey which leads to the agony of the cross. Of course, beyond the cross is resurrection but, for now, it is the suffering that has to be faced and dealt with.
As we move into the period of Lent we are encouraged to review our life. What are our highs and lows, our strengths and weaknesses? What blessings do we need to celebrate and be thankful for? What faults do we need to confess and ask God to forgive and help us improve? What could we make time for which would help us grow as Christian people?
Those are questions you can take into prayer and ask God to help you answer.
You might also like to use Sunday’s prayer:
Almighty Father, whose Son was revealed in majesty before he suffered death upon the cross: give us grace to perceive his glory, that we may be strengthened to suffer with him and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen