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....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.....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.
Well, which was it? Were they asleep or awake? It sounds like the writer isn't quite sure. Maybe Peter and his companions were't absolutely certain, either. Visions are like that -- when they have departed, we are not sure just what they were.
In my dream last night, for instance, I was mightily concerned about Denny because Bruce had just died. I sought to comfort him, wondered what would happen to him now, wondered how I might be of help to him. It was some few minutes after awakening that I remembered the truth: it is Denny who has died, not Bruce. And it was twelve years ago, not recently. Both of them are fine now, each in his own way.
How strange, I thought as I lay there, returning by degrees to the world we call "real." The one in my dream was real, too, real to me, anyway -- and the ancients would have said that it contained a message from God. I am not disposed to think that it does not: dreams are rich with hidden things, things the reasonable light of day does not reveal. Pondering them has often yielded me a treasure. This one will, too: at the very least, it will prompt a phone call to Bruce to see how he's doing.
Things like the Transfiguration, about which we'll all hear sermons on this last Sunday before Lent begins, confound those who are unfortunate enough to believe that what we see before us is all there is: that a dream is just a dream, never "real"; that a vision is a fraud, and can contain nothing of value; that a sign is at best a coincidence and at worst a delusion. For them, the knowable world is quite small, a box that must fit into the cramped quarters of the human cranium and derive its validity solely from what can be found there.
The truth is far more complex: there are dreams and visions and signs, and they have information to offer us. And there is reason and sense, and they have information for us as well. Human ways of knowing, and of expressing truth, arise from many quarters, and sometimes they collide - if it seems that they do not, it is only because we've overlooked something. A certain amount of confusion is an important part of the spiritual life, not a sign of its absence. It spurs us to observe, ponder and pray. Life in Christ is always more productive of further wonder than of answers.
Thre very next thing that happens, after the Transfiguration party comes down from the mountain, is a healing. It's a boy possessed by a demon, the first century's understanding of a serious seizure disorder. No firm answers are given us -- or them -- about exactly what happened on that mountain. Pondering that is work for later, I guess. Right now, a child is in need.
The number of children in need in Haiti is staggering. You can hear Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori describe her visit with Bp. Duracin there, from which she has just returned, and you can donate to Haiti relief through www.er-d.org. If you're in the New York area, you can come to the wonderful British Invasion Tribute benefit concert St. Luke's, Metuchen is holding on Saturday, Feb 27th, an easy trip from Penn Station and a block's walk once you alight. Restaurants in Metuchen are offering discount pre-concert dinners to ticketholders. Tickets are $20 and can be reserved by answering this email or at www.showclix.com. Because, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.
Don't make the cookies in the other day's eMo without adding 3/4 cup brown sugar. I forgot it.
Here is the Eggplant Ragout:
Turn oven to 250 degrees Farenheit. Grease a large Dutch oven. Into it, put
2 large eggplants, unpeeled, cubed
1 large can tomatoes, or 2 c tomato sauce, if that's what you
have. Fresh tomatoes in summer.
8-10 minced garlic cloves
1/4 olive oil
Stir. Bake, covered, for 2-3 hours. Uncover and bake some more, until very thick and good. Salt if you like; we don't.