Lectionary This Week: February 7

Whenever I read the story of Jesus’ transfiguration, I find myself identifying with Peter. Peter was not one to be very mindful of the moment. He was more of a doer than an observer. Someone who spoke too quickly and acted too rashly.

The gospels are filled with examples of Peter’s impulsiveness and unbridled tongue. Here are just a few examples;

  • He was the first to leave everything to follow Jesus (Mark 1:16)
  • Peter was the one who dared to jump out of the boat and walk on water (Matthew 14;29)
  • He was the first to draw his sword in defense of Jesus (John 18:10)
  • He was bold enough to rebuke Jesus (Matthew 16:22).

Peter was not a quiet, contemplative type. He was quick to talk and quick to act. Being mindful wasn’t in his nature, which often caused him to miss what was really happening. And so in this passage he is true to his reputation. Peter speaks without thinking when he should be more mindful of the moment.

The Passage: Luke 9:28-36

Now about eight days after these sayings 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.

Learning to be Mindful of The Moment

By this time in Jesus’ ministry, I’m sure the disciples were used to Jesus’ need to get away and pray. They had escaped crowds by sailing away from shore, sought out quiet gardens and lefts towns just to find space to pray. But this mountaintop moment wasn’t like anything the disciples had experienced before.

God spoke once again to be clear about who Jesus was. There was no question that Jesus was the son of God, and his communion with Moses and Elijah revealed that he was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.

Imagine seeing Jesus in dazzling white and transformed before your very eyes. As tired as the disciples were, they stayed awake to see heaven touching earth. They were privileged to stand in the presence of those who had seen God’s face. But instead of being truly present, Peter the doer suggests that they set up camp on the mountaintop. He attempts to control the situation and its outcome rather than experiencing the moment.

I can relate to Peter. My analytical mind frequently causes me to focus on plans and tasks rather than people and present moments. I have a hard time just sitting and allowing myself to fully experience where I am and the people that I am with. I’m the doer who keeps the party moving and is already cleaning up before it is over.

Like Peter, I often miss the present moment because I’m planning for what might happen next. But I recognize that this is a part of me that needs to change. I need to slow down and be more mindful of the moment. For the sake of my relationships, my walk with God and my peace of mind I need to take time to be more mindful and fully present to the people I’m with now.

Maybe you’re like me and Peter. If you are, then I would encourage you to consider what you need to give up this Lenten season. Is it control? Your schedule? Your agenda? Use Lent to give up the things that distract you so that you can be more mindful of the moment.