2nd Sunday Lent: The Mountain – One yet Many
Mark presents Jesus’ Transfiguration on the high mountain as one event that draws together many meanings. Let’s consider this high mountain and how its many meanings appear under the auspices of The Way of Life versus The Way toward Death.
Today, let’s explore the network of meanings that Mark brings together in this scene that invigorate our picture of God who acts on behalf of the people. The mountain is the place of revelation and encounter with God whom scripture itself portrays for us.
Consider holding a word, a phrase, or an image in your heart today.
Mountain; hill; deep ravine = oros
The Way of Life
God provides: Genesis 22:13f And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
Moses encounters the saving God: Exodus 3:1f Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.
God instructs: Exodus 24:12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.”
Ibid: Micah 4:1f (NRSV) In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
God helps: Psalm 121:1f I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
God conquers death: Isaiah 25:6–10 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.
God conquers pride: Isaiah 40:4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
Do not fear on this high mountain!: Isaiah 40:9 Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”
God victorious over idolatry: Baruch 5:6f For they went out from you on foot, led away by their enemies; but God will bring them back to you, carried in glory, as on a royal throne. 7 For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God.