Half Way Down

“As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, ‘Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.'” – Matthew 17:9a

Who would I tell, Jesus? What would I tell them?
“He glowed like a lamp in the sun, but brighter!”
“Moses was talking to him; so was Elijah!”
“A voice told me to listen from a cloud!”

They’d shake their heads to hear the first,
to hear the second, to hear the third.
The last and final sentence, though, they’d hear and smile:
“And when, pray tell, will you start listening?”

That question’s fair enough, I know.
I blurted out those words of invitation
rather than a question, like, “Should we
build booths for you, as you are here?”

So, Jesus, no, I’ve learned a little bit.
I’ll keep my silence ’till you give the word.
And listen. I will listen, sure as day.
And… maybe… wonder what you mean by “risen from the dead.”

A poem/prayer based on Matthew 17:1-9, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year A, Transfiguration Sunday.

The image is Transfiguration by Latimore, Kelly, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=57114 [retrieved February 14, 2023]. Original source: Kelly Latimore Icons, https://kellylatimoreicons.com/.

Transfiguration Sonnet

Upon the mountain’s height the stones reflect
the sudden glow, not gleaming from the skies
as ordinary light. They are bedecked
with sudden radiance that mystifies.

Now where there were four figures there are six,
and two did not come up the earthen trail.
Three faces wear astonishment transfixed
to see the ancient prophets so unveiled.

The ever-daring one proposes booths
until a booming voice imposes hush,
for listening is like to admit truths
far more than motion taken in a rush.

But were I there, I fear my faltering frame
would hardly dare pronounce Messiah’s name.

A poem/prayer based on Mark 9:2-9, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year B, Transfiguration Sunday.

Studies of the Heads of two Apostles (St. Peter and St. John) and of their Hands by Raphael (1483–1520), at the University of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. Black chalk touched with white on greyish paper. http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/raphael/studies-for-the-transfiguration, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23549943.