There were 12 of us on a small platform standing high atop Virgin Gorda Peak. In silence we gazed every which way, taking it all in, listening for the still, small voice of our Father in heaven. I beheld Leverick Bay, Necker Island, Anegada, and the endless Atlantic Ocean to my north and east. To the west I saw the Sir Francis Drake Channel, the chain of volcanic US and British Virgin Islands, and the setting sun. High above the water, the chop and spindrift that is felt by every vessel below, my companions and I were looking and listening for perspective, a different viewpoint from that of daily life. We stood in silence, heard the breeze, and were re-energized for the rest of our journey round the islands as God spoke to us. We wanted to stay longer, but we knew we couldn’t. The perspective we gained high atop that peak was meant to inform our daily journey, not to be our new dwelling.
Jesus and his companions had a similar moment on the peak of a mountain. In Luke 9 it is recorded that he took Peter, James, and John, his three closest friends, high atop Mount Tabor. There he was transfigured, his true essence as Son of God, Eternal Word of the Father, was shown forth in radiant light. Then, as if in perfect harmony, Elijah and Moses appeared by Jesus’ side conversing with him, demonstrating the perfect unity of God’s grand narrative in new and old covenants. The Father’s voice thundered from heaven: “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!" Doubtless, Jesus' friends were enraptured and Peter wanted to build booths, dwellings so all six of the travelers could abide atop this mountain. But they couldn’t remain either, for Jesus was giving his companions perspective to, as an old prayer says, “strengthen them for the scandal of the cross.” His exodus was imminent. They were about to reengage the wind and waves of the water, and they would need to remember the heavenly vision they beheld that day on the mountain.
This Sunday is the Feast of the Transfiguration at All Saints East Dallas, and together we’ll behold our Lord Jesus in glory, remembering and gaining the perspective he offers us high atop the mountain peak in order that our daily lives may be marked by courage, endurance, and a constant listening to Him.