A relocation from the Rev'd Russell Duncan Sunday 14th February 2021

Submitted by Dean on Sat, 13/02/2021 - 11:53

Epiphany VI – Sunday 14th February 2021 – The Transfiguration

This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him

If I was to ask you “what did you listen to or to whom have you listened this past week” I wonder what you would say? Would it be to your partner or family member; to a dear friend or a stranger? Would it be to a piece of music, to birds singing early in the morning or to silence?

For me, I listened to a new Podcast. I had never listened to one before.  It was called “Duchess”. In it Emma Manners journeys through Britain, peeking behind the veil of history and meeting the empowering women who guide Britain’s stately homes today. Not only was there an insight into their own lives (which would otherwise be hidden to us) but also to the fascinating history of their families and the great houses and castles to which they are the current custodians.

In today’s gospel from Mark we read about the rather bizarre story of the Transfiguration. Not only did Jesus take Peter, James and John up a high mountain but he was, in some strange way, transformed. His clothes became dazzling white such as no one on earth could bleach them. Elijah and Moses, long since dead, respectively representing the law and prophets, unexpectedly appear and talk with Jesus. Not surprisingly the three disciples are confused and terrified.  A cloud overshadows them and a voice is heard saying “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him”.

What on earth was happening? How might we understand the encounter today? When did we last listen to the Beloved?

Listening appears to be at the heart of our understanding of God. Listening not only to what our mind is saying but also to our heart. We will all know the tension and struggle which is often there and how we seek to resolve or reconcile this.

On looking back to my last homily - The Baptism of Christ - I was reminded that God spoke the slightly different words “You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased”. Jesus continues with his earthly journey towards Jerusalem as his ministry unravels.

The Rule of St Benedict written in 516 AD opens with the word ausculta – listen. This is the key to his whole spiritual teaching.

Father Cyprian Smith, a Benedictine monk, comments “The whole spiritual life of the Christian is a process of listening to God “inclining the ear of the heart” according to the Rule. The image of the inward ear, the ear of the heart, shows that our listening is not merely an intellectual or rational activity; it is intuitive, springing from the very core of our being”.

Our other reading from Corinthians offers us some hope whatever confusion and uncertainly we may have. We are encouraged to reflect upon the glory of God however hidden or veiled it might appear.

“For it is the God who said,

Let light shine out of darkness;

Who has shone in our hearts

To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God

In the face of Jesus Christ”.

In our earthly life this glory is for the most part hidden but we are not to lose heart. One day we shall understand more fully.

May our eyes and hearts be opened to see something of Christ’s transfigured glory in the people we meet day by day.

May they also see something of your glory shining in and from us too.

This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him