Thrive: Be on the Lookout

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
—Matthew 17:1-8

by Lauren Brewer Bass

And he was transfigured before them . . . Just like that. He was the person they traveled with every day (and if you have ever traveled with someone for any length of time you know that you get quite acquainted with their look, their smells, their quirks). But then all the sudden, he was not the same. He was familiar, and then he was not. He was dirty (because, come on, they just climbed a mountain), and then he was white as light. Transfigured.

I don’t know what kind of expectations those three disciples had that day, but I know this isn’t what they were expecting.

And, oh, I’ve been there. I’ve been on that long walk on the beach alone, sitting with a group of friends on a couch, or hanging out in that coffee shop full of strangers when things changed in an instant. I was going about my business without expectation and, without warning, the music swelled and the mundane was gone. Jesus, in all his glory, showed up with a light so bright and warm that I could feel it in my bones.

The basement of the downtown church where I once worked was often crowded with folks holding eviction letters and homeless people looking for a couple hours away from the wet cold. Right in the middle of that chaos, our 88-year-old volunteer would tell a joke, and we would bring out bologna sandwiches and hot coffee. And right there before us, what was that familiar dark hustle suddenly was not. He was transfigured before us, among us, and even in that basement, his face shone like the sun.

Remembering those times reminds me to revisit my expectations and to always be on the lookout for the transfigured Jesus—in the basements, the mountaintops and everything in between.