December 20, 2023

Read Mark 9:9-13.

In Mark’s ninth chapter, Jesus takes disciples Peter, James, and John up to the mountain top, and there he is transfigured before their eyes with the prophets Moses and Elijah appearing before them. They are stunned and bewildered, and their senses flooded with the intensity of this wild encounter. Though they have seen this physics-defying sight, they do not understand what it means…and just as quickly as it came, it goes.

As they descend from the mountain, they’re filled with many questions but no clear answers. But they are now, more than ever, clued in to the unique and powerful mystery that is God’s love through Christ — to heal and restore. It seems the Transfiguration has caused these disciples to reconsider what they know, inviting deeper questions and making space for the impossible to become possible. They are being awakened to a new world and perspective they didn’t think existed.

In a world where so much doesn’t seem possible right now, this story — read as an Advent tale — reminds us of the beautiful and tricky tensions present in the season of Advent: a longing for clarity in uncertain times. Cautious optimism and adjusted expectations. Finding the courage to climb the “mountains” of our lives. The choice to love hard in the face of violence, chaos, and heartbreak. Perhaps there are Transfiguration-moments happening in our midst, begging for our attention, even if meaning has not yet emerged.


Dazzling God, awaken in us a desire to know and be challenged by the mystery of You. May we find courage to dream new futures for ourselves and this world, just as the disciples did. Amen.

Rev. Erin Guzmán Chaplain, The College of Wooster – OH UKirk Advisor, UKirk Wooster