By Rev Janet Staines, Minister – Chermside Kedron Community Church
Sometimes we forgive too quickly. Yes, forgiveness is core to our discipleship and yes, in the midst of suffering and trial we are to posture ourselves towards forgiveness. But sometimes we forgive too soon. Forgiveness is a process. It is not a one-off act of grace we offer another or ourselves. It is a process of allowing the experience to form us into Christlikeness.
The Transfiguration narrative is an example of how our human nature seeks to avoid or find an easier alternative to the difficult transforming human processes. As the disciples watched, Jesus changed. His clothes, travel-stained and worn, shone like white light and his face shone like the sun. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus and Luke says that they too blazed with the same glory. Seeing this, Peter blurts out: “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
This transfiguration glory prefigures the cross. It is from here that Jesus sets his face towards Jerusalem and his disciples travel with him into the dark valley of betrayal and shame. None of us want these dark valleys. We would prefer the glorious mountain tops. So we are tempted to either move too quickly from mountain top to mountain top to avoid the darkness within ourselves, or we make our home in the darkness, cloaking ourselves with a martyr’s suffering, never leaving to breathe in the light.
When we talk about the possibilities of renewal we forget that this too is a very real human process. We can be tempted to pray for the glory of renewal without a willingness to travel the costly way of the cross. And we can be tempted to cling to our own self-denials, convinced it is through them that the Spirit will act. Neither way adequately reflects the Gospel. Yes, renewal is a gift from God and it is a very human process that takes us through the darkest of valleys and transfigures us into the likeness of Christ.
May our honest recognition lead us into genuine renewal and change.