Friday, August 6, 2010

Too Much for Words

Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’ When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.--Luke 9:35-36
I chose to do the Morning Prayer readings for the Transfiguration rather than continuing the trek through Judges and Acts. And an interesting thing occurred to me as I contemplated the above line from Luke's gospel. Peter, James and John had just been through something extraordinary: they found themselves enveloped in a cloud and the majestic voice had spoken to them. They had seen their teacher, Jesus, placed between the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah). And they have been let in on the mystery as to who Jesus is. Big stuff!
Like when Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets and his face was so bright that it frightened the Israelites, I see this moment with the three disciples as one where they have been exposed to something so phenomenal that they simply can not put it into words. I've had those moments where, especially following time spent in prayerful meditation, what I have been engaged in can not be described. This is not to say that I'm having amazing awesome experiences of God every time I sit for twenty minutes in prayer. But I do feel that an exchange has occurred and I can't really put into words what it was.
So, I'm left wondering about the three disciples. Others who were healed by Jesus during his ministry, even when told to keep quiet, couldn't do it. They had to run out and tell everyone what had happened. But here, the disciples are given something few had received: an unveiling of God. I wonder if this was so huge that the best thing, and the only thing they could do, was keep silent? Is there a level of maturity in their faith that led them to that, or is it simply that God zipped up their lips for this occasion? I can't know the answer to these questions. But they interest me.


Phoebe said...

Sometimes we are silent because:
we have no words to describe it,
we don't really understand,
we are afraid others will not believe
we are afraid they will think we are crazy

and sometimes it is so overwhelming, we want
to 'cherish it in our hearts'.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes don't know if my prayers are heard and then all of s sudden something happens.