The gospel for the second Sunday of Lent is always some version of the transfiguration story. This year we hear from Luke. “Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray.“ As the story proceeds the disciples fall asleep.
"But becoming fully awake, they saw his glory…” His face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.
Jesus did not become something other than who he already was on that mountain. But the disciples did not see him that way until they became fully awake. Certainly they saw him as a rabbi, teacher, a prophet. But this! This was mind blowing. Luke says it was as if they were enveloped in a cloud and they were frightened. How that must have shaped the rest of their lives!
What does it mean to become fully awake?
I am reminded of an event that Thomas Merton, American monk and mystic, wrote about in his own life. Writing about strangers passing him on the street he says "It was like waking from a dream… If only everybody could realize this!… There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun… It was as if I suddenly saw the person that each one is in God's eyes. “ I suggest Merton had an experience of becoming fully awake.
What a wonderful Lenten practice it might be to strive to become more fully awake, more aware of God working in and through everything and everyone. To give up the blinders we wear about people who are different from us. To give up the expectations we put on our own friends and family. To give up the limits that keep us from seeing others as they really are, in God's eyes.
That kind of “giving up for Lent” will prepare us to see the new life promised at Easter.