A young boy was serving as a sales apprentice to a man and he was doing really well and his master was very happy with him and gave him more responsibilities. One weekend, the boy went on his usual errand, this time to a big city to buy goods for his master’s shops. He concluded with the purchases and decided to come back on a Monday morning. The master spoke to him on the phone and asked him to make sure he traveled with the first bus in order to arrive in time with the goods he bought, but if per adventure he missed the first bus he should postpone his journey to the next day.
On getting to the bus station on Monday morning, the boy discovered that he had missed the first bus, though he left early with the goods but the early morning traffic in the city of Lagos Nigeria was much. He thought of postponing the journey but later decided to follow the second bus with the conviction that he would still arrive at his destination in time. The second bus left early and it was not long they left the busy city and headed towards Onitsha the biggest commercial nerve centres in the southeast of Nigeria. Along the road they encountered a road block and stopped supposing it to be a police check point. Like a flash some heavily armed men emerged from the nearby bush, surrounded the bus and asked the passengers to start coming out one after the other as they dispossessed them of all valuables; they were armed robbers! The young obedient boy in our story was shocked and overwhelmed when he looked out of the window; from the rear where he was seated, and saw his master he was visibly the “commanding officer” of the armed robbery gang. Instantly he remembered that his master told him to follow the first bus or postpone the journey. And as it was his turn to alert from the bus and get robbed, his eyes caught that of his master! The boy’s eye seemed to have asked the master: “sir is this really you; an armed robber? Unbelievable!” The boy was still starring in amazement when the master called his name and said: “did I not warn you to go with the first bus or postpone the journey?” The boy nodded and he asked him to run away and as he was doing so the master shot at him and he felled down and died!
One striking thing about the story was the sudden change of the master in the eyes of his boy from a humble and amiable business man to a commander of a daredevil armed robbery gang. Change, it is said, is constant. It touches every aspect of life both that of plants and animals. To change means to assume a new position. To change is to make allowance for a new reality. This period is ripe enough for us to advance towards positive changes in our lives.
In the first reading today (Gen. 15:1-12;17-18) we heard God telling Abram (later on in Genesis 17 God will change his name to Abraham) that insofar as he had agreed to change his position from where he was, he will receive abundant blessings from God. Upon this development God had a covenant with Abram to prosper him and enlarge his heritage and posterity to be as numerous as the stars on the sky. The same can happen in your life; if you are able to undertake a change your blessings will be as uncountable as the stars on the sky (Hebrew 6:13-15).
In the gospel of today (Luke 9:28-36) we read about the transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ before three of his apostles who constitute the inner caucus (Peter, James and John). The transfiguration took place on a high mountain, to this effect our Lord and the witnesses of the transfiguration had to climb the mountain in question. The climbing of the mountain is a pointer to a change of position. They left the noisy crowd of confusion at the foot of the mountain and moved up to the quiet cloud of divine glory on the top of the mountain. They left the disfiguration by evil at the foot of the mountain and moved up to the transfiguration by God on the high mountain. In all, they changed their position from a lower range of nothingness to a higher range of values.
Generally the climbing of a mountain is not an easy task. The Lenten period is much like climbing a mountain; it is tasking but gainful after all. To be able to climb a mountain successfully one has to climb light. There is need to drop all kinds of loads especially the load of sin because only those with clean hands and pure hearts can do the climbing (Psalm 24:3-6). Furthermore we don’t need to climb with anything because all we need are adequately provided there on top of the mountain. (Isaiah 25:6-9).
Now our Lord and the three famous apostles reached the top of the high mountain not for any fanfare but for prayers. It was at the instance of offering prayers that the transfiguration took place. God’s presence cannot break upon us when we are involved in things that are unconnected with Him. It is only at those points of divine connectedness that we can experience a transformation in our being. Describing the transfiguration the gospels relate to us that our Lord’s face changed and his clothes became dazzlingly white. Thereafter there was the celestial presence of Moses and Elijah and the gracious voice of God the Father confirming Jesus as the most beloved in whom He is well pleased. There are indeed many elements in this periscope that would serve the interest of biblical exegetes; however we are so much concerned here with the connection the transfiguration has with the needed change of position in our lives.
From the narrative of the transfiguration we can understand very well that without the change of position there couldn’t have been any transfiguration. The Lenten season is apt for this transfiguration. We are all called from the beginning of the season by the prophet Joel (2:12-16) to activate a change of position from the region of sin to nearness to God. In the prophecy of Isaiah we are also told to change our position by seeking God when He can be found, to call him when He can hear us and also to forsake wicked ways, unrighteous thoughts and return to God to gain His mercy (Isaiah 55:6-8).
This change of position is very important for us. Except we change our positions things will never change for us. There is no way we can be doing the same thing the same way over and over again and expect a different result; Albert Einstein calls this insanity! Joseph had to change his position to Egypt in order to receive his blessings. The people of Israel had to leave Egypt in order to get to the Promised Land. For any divine activity to take place in our lives there must be a corresponding change of position. We need to ask ourselves if we are making any serious effort this season of Lent to change our positions from disobedience to obedience, from darkness to light, from destruction to reconstruction and from disfiguration to transfiguration.
What we need and which is very absolute for us this season is A TRANSFIGURATIONAL CHANGE OF POSITION from what we used to be to what God wants us to be. We need to climb the mountain with the Lord, we need to pray along with the Lord and then be fitting enough to be transfigured with him into a more glorious level of existence. Until we encounter God in a deeper and more personal way, our knowledge of him will remain shallow. Peter (like the boy in our story) saw another aspect of Jesus Christ which he never experienced before but that was after climbing up the mountain and praying along with him.
May our lives be touched and transfigured by our effective encounter with Jesus Christ this season. Do have transfigured days ahead.