Read Mark 9:2-13 and the following comments then read the passage again and spend some time meditating upon it. Note down anything which strikes you about this incident.
Jesus is revealed in all his glory: the sharpest possible contrast to the suffering Messiah of just a few weeks later. A contrast but not a contradiction, for the glory which is here revealed is the glory of the resurrection: a glory which can be attained to only by taking the path of suffering and crucifixion.
Nor is this the only way in which the Gospel accounts of the Transfiguration allude to Jesus' passion.
The disciples who accompany him are the same three who wait with him in Gethsemane. The content of his talk with the prophets is of his forthcoming crucifixion. Death and transfiguration go hand in hand. The notion of death and transfiguration, or death and resurrection, speaks very powerfully to us at least partly because of our experience of cycles of death and rebirth in different aspects of our daily lives. We will use this idea as the jumping-off point to explore some of the personal changes we are now experiencing.
TWO LISTS FOR REFLECTION
List the things that you feel are dying in your life, the things you feel diminishing , becoming less important, receding, separating, the things you are losing interest in, letting go of, things that seem just about over. Perhaps you once enjoyed gardening but are beginning to find it drudgery. Perhaps a friendship or a job seems to be coming to an end. Perhaps an old attitude or feeling is changing. Concentrate on things that seem to be passing but are not completely past. Aim for at least five items.
Make a second list, this time of things that are coming into being, things that are not fully a part of your life but which are rising, emerging, returning, becoming more important, more desirable. This might include a new friendship, or job.
TELLING YOUR STORIES
Take a couple of minutes to look over your completed lists. Select from each list the one item which seems most significant or interesting to you. Tell the story of that which is waxing or waning, your feelings about it, anxieties, anticipations, expectations. Try to let your perceptions and feelings flow freely until they come to a natural conclusion. What is helping or hindering the passing of the old and the emergence of the new? What does this suggest to you?
If you have time, you might like to repeat the process for other items on the list. Do you see any connections between the two lists? If so, you might like to write about this relationship.
Look over what you have written. Make any further notes or comments which suggest themselves. Ask God to show you his active presence in these changes. Does he appear to be pruning away some of these parts of your life in order to make room for fresh growth?
If this is being done as a group exercise, allow a few minutes for people to share extracts from what they have written if they wish to do so. It may or may not be appropriate to allow comment on what is shared in this way. Your insights (or the things shared at this point) can become the basis for a short act of worship, perhaps concluding with the following collect (or similar prayer).
COLLECT FOR EASTER EVE
that we who are baptized into the death of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
may continually put to death our evil desires and be buried with him;
that through the grave and gate of death we may pass to our joyful resurrection;
through his merits, who died and was buried and rose again for us,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord
from the Alternative Service book 1980