Mountaintop experiences in Scripture and in our own lives are awesome. The views inspire stories in travel magazines, pilgrimage reflections and adventure projects alike.
In the Bible, when someone is going up a mountain, a revelation is about to happen. Clouds, fire, dazzling light! The Taizé tradition shares an insight that Christ’s presence with those on the journey reveals an all-encompassing God who “takes charge of everything in us and transfigures even that which disturbs us about ourselves”.
The Transfiguration experience in Matthew 17: 1–9 leads us to consider some life-changing experiences in our own lives. While we may be anxious to go back down the mountain and share what we think we have come to understand, the person and divine authority of Jesus instructs us to wait until the appropriate time—the fullness of the revelation. Rather than spread viral disbelief or anxiety, our mission should be freeing viral faith, with more enlightening results.
Several occurrences on the local and international scenes are presented for our consideration. These events impact our consciousness particularly due to the way that news is spread via social media.
Every day, virtually every hour, the COVID-19 outbreak is tracked into our lives. Viral anxiety and distrust of processes meet “factual” updates and tempered directions to wait until the appropriate time: not to panic, trust the process, God is with us, believe.
It’s interesting how innovative we’ve become in negotiating relationships and ritual actions in our faith communities and social interactions—namaste bows of peace, no kissing, no hugging, homemade masks (but don’t touch them), fist bumps, the latter bringing us back to the 1970s when another transformative experience on our local landscape revealed a self-knowing of far-reaching social consequence.
This Lenten season offers us a chance to restore confidence, strength, and faith in what we say we believe.
The emerging discussions, for example, 50 years after the Black Power social gamechanger are on the systemic poverty, and more importantly, the paucity of the moral economy in which we operate.
Here the Church has begun to ramp up the activation of its social conscience, seeking to affirm and transform who we are and what we’re called to be as “living stones”—making more valid contributions to societal enlightenment and transformation.
The celebration of International Women’s Day and its 2020 theme: I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights offers another opportunity to clarify and rectify the ongoing work and impact of gender-sensitive development. It’s not just a women’s thing, but validating men in the equation, so re-affirming the complementarity of male contributions in sustainable endeavour.
The escalating Libyan strife in which over three million people are trapped in a warzone, and millions more Syrian refugees increasingly being pressurised into hopelessness between borders, points to the urgency of the need for humanitarian effort to be morally buoyed by political action with people as priority.
The plight of those refugees and their forced migration is reflected in the reality of the hopes, dreams and disappointments of others in our region and around the world. The “promised land” which they seek often fuelled by faith, is often a bleak mirage, conditioned by trafficking, struggle, poor living conditions and criminal incursion.
Lent is an opportunity to reflect and recall that we form one body. Coming down from the mountaintop, bright faced, shaken, we are moved to informed action as agents of transformation.
The light of God is with us, guiding us, on the planes of our human existence, if only we commit to freeing viral faith.