It is my hope that God’s grace is driving greed, self-righteousness, and indifference to the suffering of others out of my mind and heart. I would like to be cleansed of all that prevents me from loving God, my neighbor, and myself.
[Jesus] drove them all out of the temple area… John 2:15b
Linda McCray Transfiguration acrylic & sand from the River Jordan on floating wood panel
The outward transfiguration of Jesus calls me to an inward transfiguration that leads me to listen more carefully to God’s Word.
Perhaps my most difficult daily challenge is to hear and carry out Jesus’ command to love each member of the human family—my neighbor. To be an authentic follower of Jesus, I must practice forgiveness, reconciliation, compassion, and nonviolence towards all people, not just those who please me.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over [Peter, James, and John]; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Mark 9:7
This is my temptation: to let the violence, tragedies, and selfishness in the world frighten me so that I forget my birthright as a beloved child of God and become distracted from participating in God’s work of reconciliation, forgiveness, and compassion. I am tempted to believe my small efforts to pray, be kind, and comfort the suffering are not a part of the solution to the world’s problems.
Along with the wild beasts and demons in my desert today, there are also angels to care for me. I need not make an idol of fear. I am reassured that I have a part to play in making God’s vision of love and unity a reality.
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. Mark 1:12
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) Jesus heals a leper Pen and ink drawing, c. 1650-1655 Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet
So much conspires to tell me I am an outcast in this society: unemployment, chronic headaches, overwhelming fatigue, and the ever-accelerating pace and stress of modern life when what I crave is time—time to go slowly, to rest, listen, and discern God’s will for me.
When I become aware that I am feeling ashamed of who I am, I pray to be reunited with the unconditional love and compassion that is my birthright. The Lord is always willing to touch me and make me whole again.
A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”
Rembrandt (1606-1669) Christ Healing Peter’s Mother-in-Law pen and wash, circa 1650-1660
Jesus is always at home to those who need healing. He enters our personal space to touch us, make us whole, and help us get back on our feet so that we may continue to use our gifts and talents to serve others.
May I be willing to show up at the Lord’s door to ask for his grace and guidance. May I invite him to enter my mind, heart, and soul.
On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John… When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. Mark 1:29, 32-33
Trust. Our efforts to love and serve the Lord and each other provide life-giving nourishment for our families, our communities, and our world.
As [Jesus] passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. Mark 1:16-18