What we have here is mystery, pure mystery. Jesus isn’t a celebrity like he is today. He is the man everyone has touched. The sick put their hands on him and are healed. The people around Galilee have been doing this for about two years. They have begun to think of it as a part of life. Some of them know his mother and brothers. They all know Jesus had an ordinary childhood in a peasant village like theirs. It’s like he’s like our home’s front door. We see it so many times a day, that we don’t see it. If we were prisoners or shut-in by illness, we would think differently about the door.
“There’s the door,” we say. We point to it. But what a person needs is the doorway. The empty space. The fact that we can leave one place and go to another is the mystery of life. The fact that our spiritual state can be transformed is the joy of Jesus.
There is a Taoist saying: “Cut doors and windows for a room. It is the holes that make it useful.”
A beautiful vase is made mostly of space. Without the emptiness inside it, a tennis ball won't bounce. We tend to think that religion is about what we do; the songs that we sing, the offerings that we bring, and the words that the preacher says. Religion is really about the meeting space, the doorway, the emptiness, the wilderness, and the lonely mountaintop.
Jesus has been the door. He has been doing things with his disciples. We read about his miracles. We try to make sense of what he taught. But Jesus knows what lies ahead. He is really at the mid-point of his mission. And at mid-points, it is good to pause, take stock, and reconnect with what matters for the journey. To appreciate the doorway and the mysteries that we can’t put into words. What is important about the transfiguration in Mark 9:2-9 is not how Jesus' appearance is changed. That is the door. Remember, the important thing is the empty space the door passes through.
Next week we begin Lent and our focus shifts for forty days to how Jesus went to Jerusalem and did his work on the cross. That's what lies ahead, once we cross the doorway. Pause in this space. Turn around and look behind you. Back there is a year of this bloody awful pandemic. It is only a door. What empty space or mystery is God calling you to travel through today?