I caught a glimpse of you this morning. You were standing in the grocery store check-out line, just ahead of another woman about the age you were when you departed this life. You were being your merciful and generous self, not thinking about a to-do list but rather engaging another with grace-filled attention and common conversation. You talked about recipes, traffic and yogurt. Not-so-interesting topics to you but they seemed interesting to the woman. You saw her like no one else could see her at that point in time–a woman of years and experience, in need of kind attention. The gesture of your goodbye to her was the cadence of hospitality dancing from your fluttering fingers as you always had for anyone you crossed paths with. A cadence that speaks to the other: “I am glad for this moment with you, I am richer because of this fleeting encounter.” Yes, I did see you….in me as I stood there with that woman and I hope someone looking on would say, “You look just like you mother.
“Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my
Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they
kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.”
–The Gospel according to Saint Luke
Mountains seem to be a thing for you, LORD. I have climbed Mount Tabor sometimes with great speed and sometimes slowly over these decades since Mom entered the clouds of eternity to worship you forever, I’m not able to behold her transformed face as the disciples beheld your’s, but I’m sure if I could, I’d see her laughing. The surprise and delight that came to her so easily in this life now abundantly released into her soul.
I have been, in turn, Moses climbing Sinai and Elijah climbing Carmel and Horeb. There has been monumental stuff that’s happened to me on the mountain range of Faith. Your mountain with its clouds: the finger of the LORD God writing his Law on the stone tablet of my heart. Worship of this earth’s values and attractions shattering–exposed by a cloud the size of a man’s hand bearing the rain that no graven image could conjure. I am Elijah who chooses trust in you, revived by your whisper after wind shakes mountains and the earth quakes….“What are you doing here, [Lois]?”
And now in this grocery line, a Mt. Tabor transfiguration; where the glory of the God-head radiates from your face as the Father commands me to listen to you and to experience your passion and your resurrection and be transfigured by your holy Spirit
What am I doing here, Lord Jesus Christ, on this the summit of Tabor?What is this heavenly mystery I see as you dazzle white before me? Why do you allow me to eavesdrop on your conversation with pioneer mountain climbers once covered by the veil of death but now revealed as the shroud of eternity free falls down the mountain? It is good to be here with you, but, why here? A grocery line that transports me in a moment that is luminous with the reflection of your glory! I should be blinded but instead I fall before you in worship.
I see now with abundant clarity that you led me to this ordinary moment of waiting in the grocery line. And I feel you as you lead me back down this mountain where the mystery of transformation will illuminate my soul.
Could it be that it was my heart’s longing that opened the portal of eternity to me?Could it be that as I learn to live life praying–abiding in the ascent of listening–that you amend my fears and doubts, striking a lightning blow to my pride and arrogance. Is it in in the moments of give and take living that I see your divine purpose now unfold in my humanity? Is the mystery of transfiguration revealed when I learn to listen to you, to respond in obedience, to see that every moment is suffused with divinity waiting for my eyes to look up? Is it that overshadowing of your grace that happens on the earth under my feet; turning grocery store check-out lines into the holy ground of my transformation into your likeness?
“Become what you behold,” echoed from Tabor as I stood beside that woman today. The merciful spirit that is the spiritual heritage of Mom’s life has steadily become my spiritual gift over these years as I have submitted to your transformation every moment of living my ordinary life in the pursuit of holiness. My life is gradually being endowed with the generosity of spirit that was so natural to Mom and so unnatural to me. I look back now and see how your holy Spirit has poured into my life the mercy and generosity that I have prayed for as an inheritance from Mother. Today I felt Mom’s spirit dancing from my fluttering fingers in a gesture of kindness toward the woman. A physical and spiritual heritage become one in the transformation of my soul. And I listen to you, Father. My voice echoes back to you what Peter must have said to you as he fell on his knees before the miracle of The Transfiguration. “It is good that I am here, it is good that I have listened and obeyed. I hear you say to me now, ‘You are my beloved daughter.'”