Two “Doorway” Words

Gospel of Thomas

Two words that are significant for me are “Covenant” and “Transfiguration.” Covenant in scripture is a binding vow of love, God’s promise to Abraham continuing through the Jewish Bible and coming to fulfilment in Christ Jesus.

The history of our Church belongs in that covenant, the unfailing promise of love. Quite simply, God is in love with us, whether we are aware of it or not. When the word “covenant” is considered in a deep place of meditation, we find our hearts are filled with the light of God’s presence.

There is a sense of spaciousness, of warmth, of loving connection with all creation. And while no words can accurately describe an experience beyond language, for me, the word “covenant” is a doorway to it. That word holds a promise that can never be broken.

Another doorway word is “transfiguration.” The story of Jesus’ moment of glory on the mountain holds an important lesson for us all. Why did Jesus go up the mountain that day? We don’t know. But he often went to a wilderness place to pray, and he probably knew the mountain well.

At this time, however, Jesus was nearing his death and carrying the burden of that knowledge. His disciples didn’t understand. He must have been in a very lonely place.

On the mountain, he was given a for-taste of his resurrection. It was a glorious moment in which he went beyond the boundaries of his human senses to return to the spiritual realm.

That must have been a huge experience for Jesus. So, what happened next? The two disciples acted as we probably would. They wanted to hold on to the miracle by making shrines, three tents on the mountain.

But Jesus? No, he immediately went down to the plains, back to his life of compassion and healing.

I’m a bit like those disciples. Little tastes of God can lead to an addiction to sweetness, a fondness for the mountain experience. I admit I am very fond of what I call spiritual pavlova. I want to linger with the sacred moment and build little shrines in an attempt to hold onto it.

But I know that the mountain experience exists so that it can be taken to the plains to people in the everyday busyness of life. That’s what “call” is all about. We witness Jesus on the mount of transfiguration, and afterwards, we all go with him to the plains.

To use another image, we are like little paper cups under a waterfall of love. We get filled. We get emptied. We get filled again. And we know the rightness in the process.

It’s all about covenant. It’s all about the mountain and the plains.

It’s all about God’s Love.

  • Joy Cowley is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and retreat facilitator.

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