Scripture: Matthew 17:14-21
Key verse: (Matthew 17:2) “And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.”
Reflection: Life is filled with liminal moments, those times when we find ourselves standing between what has been and what will be. The word “liminal” comes from the Latin root, limen, which means “threshold.” Liminal space is the “crossing over” space – a space where you have left something behind, yet you are not yet fully in something else.
The transfiguration is a liminal moment in the gospels. Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him up the mountain to witness a metamorphosis. His form shifts from human to heavenly, his face shining like the sun, his clothes dazzling white. Then with him stand Moses and Elijah, figures of the past representing the law and the prophets, the guides of God’s people to this point. Then they are gone, and the glorified Christ stands alone. They hear the announcement made at an earlier liminal moment in the Gospel, Jesus’ baptism. “This is my son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased,” and a command is added, “Listen to him!” It is a liminal moment, a threshold between the world as it was, and the world as it will be.
We are in a liminal moment in our society in many ways. We stand between a pre-pandemic reality and whatever the post-pandemic world will be. We stand in the midst of an awakening among many white people to the realities of racial injustice and how it distorts the systems of our nation. Liminal moments can be frightening moments. We know that what has been has ended. Many fear the loss of what has been known. What is yet to be is not defined. That uncertainty creates its own fear. So what are people of faith to do?
Remember that Jesus stands with us in this moment. He is Lord of all creation. Just as he stood on that mountain top, he stands with us all. And we must remember his word to his disciples in that liminal moment, “Do not be afraid.” Whatever tomorrow holds, Christ holds tomorrow. His love is the guiding light that calls us forward and will carry us through. His power brings new life on the other side of every cross we face, every liminal moment where life as we have known it ends, and we await what life will be.
Prayer: Loving God, in this liminal moment we find ourselves in, may we trust in your presence to lead us forward toward your vision for our tomorrows. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Author: Joe Clifford
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].