I was chatting a while back with a friend who had experience of the “freakier” side of this “spiritual stuff” we rarely “chat about” every day – this “real” God and Devil stuff. My friend’s experiences were definitely in the “spiritual warfare” arena. I had a full-on “surround-sound and 3-D glasses” evening. And we chatted for some time. And as we talked I found out that I was the first person my friend had ever told about this.
And the saddest and weirdest part of all of it for me? None of the “freaky stuff, nor the “did it happen or not” stuff, nor even “is my friend sane or nuts”? We are real. God and Satan are real. This was real. That was not weird or sad. Because God and the devil have been in the same room as me before.
What made me weep as we discussed all of this? My friend had not been alone. Yet their partner had never acknowledged what had happened to them both. They would not admit it, not listen to it, and lived as though “that” never happened to them both. That made me weep. Because loneliness and this “freaky stuff” is the stuff of madness.
Let me tell you “the end”: My friend told me. We discussed it. We shared it. And then I was told this would never be discussed again. That “our conversation” that evening had never happened (either). If I asked about it – my friend would simply reply that they did not know what I was talking about.
What a burden to carry. What an obstacle to Love.
How often do we – the church (for “we” are the church”) – spout about the safe stuff, but never embrace the “freaky stuff”: the reality of being indwelt (or “possessed” as I prefer), the “real” of Satan (for One is real – so the “Other”), about real clashes between the forces of Love and “not-Love”? The absolute real in “real God stuff”.
What lonely places we create for ourselves in this relationship of Love and fellowship … Why?
Today is the Church’s “Transfiguration Day” – the verses today are simply that:
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.” Mark 9:2-10
What caught my attention was not the razzle dazzle – none of the showstopping light and sound effects – not even “God in His cloud” and all that – none of the usual “wow” stuff we all gape at each time. What He drew me to this morning was one small detail:
”So THEY kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.”
Peter, James and John. Three disciples. Why not one – why not two – why three disciples? And this morning what He and me talked about was Love – not showstoppers. Because Jesus was to tell them that they were “to tell no one” until “after”.
Peter alone? He would have gone nuts. Just Peter and James? Just like my friend and the person with him – both go “nuts”. But three disciples? That is a balance, that is certainty – and THAT is LOVE – such tender love for each of them – right there – right then. “They” can keep each other sane, “they” can discuss it as “real” – they can live with certainty and “safety”. That is an amazing “detail” of Love for each in the midst of the pyrotechnics!
So on this day of “Transfiguration WOW!” – my reminder is this: when we get swept away with only the showstoppers …
How much are we allowing Jesus to show us what we need to see? How much are we allowing our drawing closer to Him? How much more do I allow my love of Him to grow? Or do we prefer to “idolise Him” from the safety of our own cloud – at a safe distance – Him up there and us down here?
That detail of Love for me is a WOW unlike anything attached to the “showstopper” this morning!