What are you afraid of? Snakes? Thunder? The dentist? A dark lane? Fear is an emotional gift that helps protect us from harm. But when we become overwhelmed by fear we simply shut down, freeze or become numb. This is what happened to the disciples on the mountain with Jesus. Today we are a lot like those disciples. Global and catastrophic predictions about impending warfare, disease and climate change can render us catatonic, apathetic or drive us into denial. It is important for us to remember that Jesus knew the future, with all its inherent difficulties, and yet he was filled with hope, compassion and assurance. The powerful message of the Transfiguration story is that we can be reassured by spiritual experiences, but that is not where it ends. “Get up and do not be afraid.” We must then get moving, re-engage in life and do something! Thanks be to God, Jesus comes down the mountain with us and that is Good News indeed.
Beginning of the meeting
Read the reflection above and ask the people to reflect on and then discuss this question, What word or phrase describes how you feel right now about your children’s future, the future of the world, of the church?
Then read the passage of scripture below two times. Allow a few minutes of silence for people to consider the questions on their own. Then invite people to cluster in small groups to share their reflections with each other. After a few minutes bring the small group to a close and invite people to share in the larger group the common themes and insights they heard.
Reading 1- What is Jesus is saying to you through the reading?
Reading 2 – What is Jesus calling you to do? What comes next after “get up and do not be afraid”?
Matthew 17:1-9 New Revised Standard Version
17 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ 8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, ‘Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’
Ask people to write a prayer that captures their response to the two questions. Invite one or two people to read or pray their prayer to end the session.
End of the meeting
Read the passage once again and ask how God’s Good News has been known in your time together.