Transfiguration Sunday celebrates another kind of ‘epiphany’ of Jesus. He is revealed for just a moment as the fulfilment of Jewish history. He appears under the cloud of God, reminiscent of God’s guiding presence for Israel in their escape from Egypt, journey through the wilderness, receiving the law, and installation of the temple. He appears in the company of Moses representing the Law and Elijah representing the prophets. All of this astounds us, like Peter, James and John, and we too might be tempted to focus on this glorious revelation, and dwell on the magnificence and – let’s be honest – glamour of this transfiguration.
But the narrative arc of the story draws us back down the mountain, back amongst humanity. Peter’s inclination to set up camp on the mountain under the glory of God’s revelation of Jesus is a bad idea. It’s not what Jesus is about. He’s here to be human, among humans. To set up camp, pitch his tent (as John’s gospel puts it) and dwell among us.
In these resources we keep our feet on the ground and stay conscious of our own humanity – using our hands and bodies in storytelling and prayer, knowing that we don’t need bright lights or mountain tops to listen to Jesus.