Suggesting that fear may be put into perspective is not the same as saying that it is merely a projection of overactive imagination. There are things of which we ought legitimately be afraid, and experiences and potentialities which rightly cause our hearts to tremble, our hair to stand up, sweat to bead on our skin. One striking sentence in this week’s scripture reading is about Jesus conversing with the figures of Moses and Elijah on the mountainside: They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. “Departure” is just another word for: he was about to die. And it wouldn’t be a peaceful, go-to-wakeless-sleep kind of death. It was to be the death of a criminal at the hands of the Roman empire. Brutal. And terrifying. Yet faced with the help of a support system. The fear was not bottled up, where it could grow unchecked in the silence. It was named. It was discussed. What are your fears? With whom can you talk about them?
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.