Beloved: Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now made manifest through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. – 2 Timothy 1:8-10
Our Gospel reading for this week is Jesus’ transfiguration in the desert. Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. (Matthew 17:1-2)
Lent is a time of transfiguration for us all. Within each of us is holiness and light.
But YOU are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9, emphasis added) And yet, we live in darkness. Not only are we surrounded by darkness, but also we, ourselves, are often full of darkness. Our hearts are dark. Our thoughts are dark. Our actions are dark. Jesus’ transfiguration reminds us of our need to cling to the light of Christ. It reminds us that there is holiness hidden in our deepest spaces. The transfiguration reminds us that the realm between the spiritual world and the physical world is not as pronounced as we make it out to be.
And that’s why we have Lent. It’s time to throw off that darkness and reclaim the holiness of Christ. It’s time to be who we were created to be. It’s time to be transfigured through this holy season.
One of my favorite quotes for the season of Lent reminds us how to live in this light, to transfigure not only our hearts this season, but also our actions:
Fast from judging others… Feast on the goodness in them.
Fast from worries that pollute… Feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent… Feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger… Feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism… Feast on optimism.
Fast from worry… Feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining… Feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives… Feast on affirmatives.
Fast from bitterness… Feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern… Feast on compassion for others.
- William Arthur Ward
From what in your life do you need to fast to become transfigured into the holiness of Christ? On what do you need to feast to allow your life to be filled with the light of Christ?