There is another striking word in the gospel sentence we highlighted yesterday: They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. The “departure” Jesus faced was something that he was going to “accomplish.” Death—the object of terror—as accomplishment, made possible because life was lived as radically open to others. Fear transformed into purpose.
Miriam Greenspan gets at this in her book, Healing Through the Dark Emotions: “Our only protection is our interconnectedness. This has always been the message of dark emotions when they are experienced most deeply and widely….Fear is not just ‘my’ fear; it is everyone’s fear—of anthrax, of nuclear war, of truck bombs, of airplane jackings, of things falling apart, blowing up, sickening and dying.
“If fear is only telling you to save your own skin, there’s not much hope for us. But the fact is that in conscious fear, there is a potentially revolutionary power of compassion and connection that can be mobilized en masse. This is the power of fear. Our collective fear, which is intelligent, is telling us now: Find new ways to keep this global village safe. Find new forms of international cooperation that will root out evil in ways that don’t create more victims and evil. Leap out of the confines of national egos. Learn the ways of peace. Find a new ceremony of safety so that not just you and I but all of us can live together without fear.”
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” —not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 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.
Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.