Frustration sitting in traffic when you are running late.
Anxiety surrounding awaiting a diagnosis from a recent medical test.
Heartbreak when loved ones move across country.
And then there are the other moments:
Watching a sunrise peek across the morning sky.
Listening to the laughter of a joyful child.
Experiencing the blessing of a helpful hand.
The first set, we might call the reality of life, the second set, we would call the divinity of life. These are the moments of our lives that throw us into the doldrums and pain, and moments that remind us of the holy and peace. Our Scripture passage for this Sunday called "Transfiguration Sunday," connects with both at the same time. It is the passage in which Jesus goes to the top of a mountain and he is transfigured into dazzling white. Peter, James and John, who are with him, watch and are amazed at what they see and they want to pitch a tent, never to leave this sacred situation. But soon enough the moment is over and they are thrust back into first century life, immediately hearing the cries for help from a father whose son is possessed by an evil spirit.
As we listen to this passage we are reminded of the faith life which thrusts us from moments of divinity to situations of humanity. It is the relationship with the vertical and the horizontal, how we connect with the holy and the secular.
Many years ago, in seminary, a friend of mine and I were working at a church together. We were tasked by our senior pastor to preach a dialogue sermon on the transfiguration. Needless to say, we thought all of our book knowledge and theological training would get us through this dialogue sermon where we each tried to represent either the horizontal or the vertical portions of the text. But what we found is that it was much more difficult to separate the two than what we initially expected. Because the reality of our lives of faith is that we are constantly incorporating one into the other. Our frustration running late in traffic is infused with looking around and seeing the beauty in the sunrise above the skyline. The anxiety surrounding awaiting a medical result is calmed by the assurance of the cycle of life as a grandchild laughs in the waiting room. Or the loneliness in moving away from family is tempered by the helping hand that offers a welcome meal to a new neighbor.
Friends, we live in the faith that calls to take the life we have and see the blessing of the holy within it. We don't have to pitch a tent to hold on to those holy moments, we can find them as we go back into the world and be part of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. So embrace every moment as one where the divine could live.
You are a blessing,