March 4, 2012

Listen to Him

A meditation on Mark 9:2-10

I promise you this, Jesus
You give me a shot up on that mountain
Up there with you
In the bleach and the dazzle
In the company of dudes as cool as
fire-calling Elijah
water-parting Moses
You give me a shot up there
And I won’t screw it up, like Peter did.


Actually, that’s not true.

I probably will. Probably have.
Poor Peter. What a chump.
Poor me. What a mug.

The things we say when we are piously petrified.


But I know this
Mountain climbing Jesus, Matterhorn Messiah
After six days in this tired, twisted world of yours (well, almost yours)
I want to be up on that mountain.
I want to be apart from the tempestuous world below
With you
With the Father
With at least my foot in the door of what you Two Friends (and Another) share.

Not that your sanctuary up there at 1 Transfiguration Place
Is any less dangerous than the Youngstown nightly news
(that's the only news I get on my antenna)
Danger down here! That much is clear.
But it's all danger-danger up there, too!

What, with your
Shimmering new suit
Blinding with the gleam of a 1000 suns
A disco ball of divinity
Spotting everything
Exposing all

And that terrible cloud of knowing
That dreadful veil of the Godhead
With that penetrating voice that fracks the shale of all our falsehood.

So there’s no safe place, after all
In the back alley or in the back pew.

But at least your danger rings true.
At least in your blinding light there is life.
At least
up there
with you
one can hear the brassy confirmation of the Father
that fundamental word we nightly-news-orphans ache to hear



Speaking of ache
I dread the climb up there.
I'm out of shape.
(too many cheeseburgers)

But I need the view!
Let me go with you, Jesus.
Just once.

Actually, how about every 7 days?
Once a month?

I want to see what you see
I want to see this broken-down world
And its tiresome schemes
And your impotent church
And my fickle life
I want to see all of it
Washed over in a dazzling white.

Not Caucasian, mind you.
(Please. I get enough of that in the mirror, 6 days a week)

No, I mean that unpigmented goodness
that seeps out of God’s space.

I want to see what this world, your world, looks like
Bleached of its sad stink
Blanched of its greyish, mournful hue

When I was a kid my older cousin Tommy told me
that if I stared directly into the sun my pupils would catch on fire.

I tell you this much, Jesus
When it comes to your son-face
I’d sure like to try.
Burn off all the religious gas
Melt away my stubborn dross

Because the truth is
I’m as much of a lummox as the apostle Petra
Old Peter, the rock.
His head may as well been made of stone
Always opening his mouth at the wrong time.

And me too
I’m always trying to speak to you
Always wanting to explain reality to you

That’s why I need you to take me up on the mountain
Take me up above myself
Sit me down
And tell me, in effect
To shut up
(Gently, of course ⎯ as I know you can do)

Just for a moment ...

A silent church.
No tired hymns.
No ubiquitous praise songs.
No needy, all-knowing preachers. (Thank the Lord!)
No polls or papers or opinions.

Teach us to stay silent in the stupefying cloud of your all-knowing.

Take me up with you, Jesus
Take us all
Up into your shared life
With the Father
And the Spirit

Let us eavesdrop on that endless song you sing together
Give us a peek at that unending luminescence you transact
Let us feel the puff of your threefold life
The way the Spirit moves around in your space

Blow on us as it blows among you

The way
When I leave my new window cracked
At the first of March
The sudden new breeze
Scatters my piously neat papers
All across my humbled office.

Blow like that.

“This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”

I see.
I hear.
I will

Up here

And down there, too.