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A Simple Peek

There are certain times in life when
Scripture, a sermon, and life all join
together to bring some clarity to life.
The joining of those three feels like swirling
together milk and sugar into a freshly
brewed cup of coffee or hitting the sweet spot
on the soccer ball as you kick it, putting it
into the upper corner of the goal out of reach
of the keeper. This in no way diminishes the
power of Scripture to speak into our lives on
a daily basis, or take away from the work
and effort of thousands of pastors around
the world who work diligently to speak to
the work of the Trinity, but when all three
conjoin, it is a beautiful thing.

You may have guessed, but those three
came together for me a few weeks ago when
listening to the story of the Transfiguration
in preparation for Lent. I had been pondering
the trouble and issues of economical
woes, the pain of job loss and eviction from
homes, and could not help but notice troubling
news hit me, hit us, every time we
turned around. I live in Michigan, and especially
for this state so tied to the automotive
industry, it’s hard not to think about
how things could unravel very quickly for
all those involved. And I had been wondering:
where does the Good News fit in to all
of these conditions of woe? At what level do
you hold on to the joy of the Lord that is
our strength when that seems to diminish
the anxiety so many are holding? In what
way can we encourage and/or remember
the place where true life comes from?

And then I listened again to the story
of Jesus traveling up the mountain with
Peter, James, and John and then Jesus’
revelation in glory along with Moses and
Elijah. I heard again the confirmation from
the voice of God that this is his son, the beloved,
and the charge to listen to him. And
then I heard the words of my pastor, phrase
by phrase, pull things together for me: the
role of the Transfiguration story in Matthew,
Mark, and Luke; how they are very similar
accounts to one another; how it’s important
to note what role this story might have
played for early Christians who were being
persecuted for their faith; how it’s important
to consider what role this story plays
for us. My pastor went on to emphasize the
importance of remembering the beauty and
the glory of the final vision–that of Jesus
Christ, dazzling in light, being the fulfillment
of God’s plan in company with Moses
and Elijah. She went on to share a story of
a woman who struggled in her relationship
with her daughter through her teen years
and into her twenties, but on the day of her
daughter’s marriage, her daughter shared
with all those gathered that she wouldn’t
have made it through if her mother hadn’t
been faithful and gracious and understanding.
Wouldn’t it have been so helpful
for that mother to have a glimpse of this
story when she was going through those
difficult times with her daughter–to have
just a taste of the beauty that was to come?
Don’t we all wish at times to have a simple
peek to see that things will turn out OK.

And then it all came together for me.
This is our story–to hold on to the knowledge
of the glory of God to carry us through
these difficult days. And, in all honesty, in
consideration of history and what some
people go through on a daily basis, we’re
doing OK. It may be a dark valley at the moment,
but through the gracious lovingkindness
of God, this story has been shared to
remind us of the dazzling beauty to come,
when we shall behold the glory of God in
Jesus Christ in the fullness of time.

Gretchen Schoon Tanis is a doctoral candidate at
King’s College/University of London in youth ministry and theology.
Gretchen Schoon Tanis

Gretchen Schoon Tanis

Gretchen Schoon Tanis is pastor of RELISH, an international congregation in Hannover, Germany. She is ordained in the Reformed Church in America and holds a Ph.D. from Kings College, London.