The Way and the Transfiguration

If you expect me to tell you to get out and climb a mountain this week in order that you’re face shine enough to suggest to those around you that you have been face to   face with God, as Moses and Jesus have in the Bible story of the Transfiguration then you’ll be disappointed.  You just need to find and sit in a patch of Late winter Sun, as I did this year when we experienced a rather warmer than usual end to February.  Sadly no divine presence – but a strange warming sensation I’ve not experienced for a while, probably since last Autumn!  We hear in the story of the transfiguration Moses and Jesus climbing to a high place before a confrontation.  The times folk do this in the bible, climb a mountain, go out into a desert, go out into a boat, cross a lake, take a moment out, find some clarity, be prepared for the next happening.  As we embark upon Lent on Ash Wednesday, leading ultimately to Holy Week and Easter, perhaps we too need to take that step back and see the whole picture.  And we are offered it here in Luke, looking towards Jerusalem.  Before we begin Lent with the whole journey before us it feels (to me at least) as if I am wholly unprepared for what is to come.  Life can turn on a pin head sometimes.  It happens so often when news comes fast and it matters not really what the news is, whether it be the death of a loved one, a crisis of some sort, even a birth or other unexpected arrival.  What changes our course is the perspective, the focus upon the person, the happening the event brings.  In the film The Way, Martin Sheen’s character Tom finds out that his Son Daniel has died suddenly in an accident.  So begins his journey, The Way of St. James, the Camino Sant Iago de Compostella.  For those outside his experience it seems not to make any sense at all. His sudden change of focus is unwavering as everything looks different from the inside.  As Tom looks over his Son Daniel’s ruck sac and possessions he decides rashly perhaps to walk the Way his Son had set out on.  His companions along the way may not have been the ones he would have chosen.  Indeed, he wanted to walk alone.  He wanted no-one to interfere with his grief, with his personal journey, or know the reasons for it.  Yet there is one path, so realistically they will continue to bump into each other at least sometimes.  So why not walk together.  A journey like this might even appear irrational.  Why set out on the road?  Which metaphorical road do we take?  The high road, the low road, the long and winding road, the lonesome road, the royal road, the open road, private road, road to hell, the tobacco road, crooked road the straight and narrow road, the road stretching into infinity? The right road and of course the road we all fear we have taken from time to time, the wrong road.  Which begs the question, what am I doing here?  What am I doing now?  Where are we?  Time to stop and rewind, get some perspective.  Everyone has a starting point for their journey, it might not be the Camino, it might even be making it through this next week, day even, or perhaps the journey through Lent that begins on Ash Wednesday.  The first task is to recognise where you are and to begin where you are.  We ought to begin from where we are on the journey towards Holy Week and Easter.  If you’ve never made that journey through Holy Week, followed the way of the cross, then perhaps this year can be a first opportunity.  On the Sunday before Lent we have the opportunity to look out over the weeks to come in order to prepare for what is ahead of us.  Which road will we take?  Some of us will take the Pilgrimage road that leads from Penmachno to Dolwyddelan on Good Friday, and on Holy Saturday, on from Dolwyddelan to Llanrhychwyn where we will welcome the first light of Easter.  The journey does not end at Easter.  We’ll walk on towards Llangelynnin to join the way to Enlli, the North Wales Pilgrim Way.  Our very own Camino de William Morgan begins here.  Though the way is not yet well trodden nor the path well known, it is there ready for us to embark.  So to is our journey into Lent and Holy Week, it is only for us to accept the invitation, and perhaps we too will come as Jesus and Moses face to face with God.  All this helps us to see ourselves more clearly and to recognise the imprint of God on each one of us.  No need for a mountain, just a mirror and the wisdom to see clearly in the glass darkly.