I’ll admit it, Holy One.
you give us an infinity of epiphanies.
Peter, James and John knew Jesus:
the lines on his face,
the timbre of his voice
the length of his stride,
the color of his hair.
Did the mountain change Jesus?
Or did it change them?
An infinity of epiphanies you give us.
Jesus lit up the town by spitting in the mud
and giving a born-blind man sight.
Who could deny he was more than ordinary?
The sin was in not seeing him.
The sin lies in not seeing you.
It seems so simple.
Why do we need an infinity of epiphanies?
Why can’t we see?
We are caught up in traditions,
ready to hold still, to shelter in place,
afraid to tell the world the Good News.
Send us back down the mountain to serve you.
We are blinded by the rules we have made,
by the way we’ve always done things,
by resistance to new life.
Wash the mud from our eyes and let us see.
Light of the world,
open our eyes
to the infinite epiphanies to come.
(Or, “The Captivating Phrase About Which I Did Not Preach.”)
What do you suppose it’s like to be in the company of prophets?
I know the point of the 2 Kings 2 passage on Transfiguration B is to remind us of the story of Elijah and the special nature of his relationship with God. It’s to remind us why he’s on the mountaintop with Moses and Jesus and why it should matter to Peter, James and John to see him.
But I keep rolling those words over in my mind, and even aloud, “the company of prophets.”
I’ll confess right now, I did no research on the phrase or the time or the people, although I’m sure that would be interesting. It’s the phrase itself that won’t let go of me. Suppose as the church we were called to be the company of prophets? Suppose we are meant to be transformed from regular citizens into prophetic voices?
This causes all kinds of problems for most American Christians. We are comfortable in our churches and like the way we’ve always done things. We don’t want to, for heaven’s sake, upset anyone, because we’ve internalized the advice given to Thumper:
But I imagine the company of prophets did not live by any such rule. And in the current climate, when the very name of our faith, Christian, is being used and, dare I say it, misused by those who think “nice” means turning the calendar back to a fictional past in which women devoted themselves exclusively to pregnancy and child-rearing, we don’t dare to be silent.
Over the weekend, I led the service remembering the life of a church member who lived to be 101. Born at a time when you placed a phone call, if you had a phone, through the operator, he lived to be someone whose cell number is saved in my iPhone. He was also born in a time when women had no voice at the polls yet, nor did they have a voice in many of our churches.
It happens that I baptized his great-granddaughter while serving in my first call at Small Church. She is now a poised young lady of seven. Her mother shared this story with me. Young E wanted to know why her family attends Small Church rather than the Catholic church where her other grandparents are members. Her mother explained that in the Catholic church women are not free to stand up and proclaim the Gospel. Young E responded, quite reasonably, “That’s not fair!!!”
She gets it. And she gives me courage that there will continue to be a company of prophets to keep proclaiming the ways humankind confuses what matters, in our relationship with God and with others.
Last week, a senior member at my current call wrote a letter to the editor of the Portland paper, expressing frustration with an editorial cartoon claiming that there will be no marriage equality until the older generation dies off.