Reflections on Transfiguration by Youth and Children | 7 February, 2016

[Text: Luke 9:28-36]

Eve’s reflection:

Have you ever had a time in your life when you had to make a life changing decision?   In today’s scripture, Jesus is about to make a difficult decision.  He has been healing wounded people, feeding those who didn’t have any food, teaching people the way that God wants us to live our lives, and gathering disciples to help him do his ministry. All this happened in the region of Galilee.  Now he needs to decide if he is going to the city of Jerusalem. He is also taking into consideration that this is a dangerous place, he might even be risking his life.

Before heading to Jerusalem, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain to pray.  

My mom’s family  owns a cabin in the Colorado rockies.  When you go up the mountains, it feels like you can see everything from just that little part of the world. The air is so thin. It’s kind of like you are in another atmosphere. I remember one time when my cousins and I were climbing a mountain in the summer. We were at the top and noticed a pile of snow. Snow in the Summer? Strange things happen on top of mountains.

A strange thing happened to Jesus when he was on the mountain. He was talking to God and suddenly two famous  prophets, Moses and Elijah, came to give him encouragements for what to do in the dangerous land of Jerusalem.  Of course they had experience with these kind of problems themselves. Moses had made Pharaoh extremely mad, and a cruel king wanted to kill Elijah.   What was crazy about this was that these prophets were dead.  They were literally walking dead, but now they were magically alive, talking with Jesus.

If I had to make a hard decision it would be awesome  to get some  advice from  people who aren’t alive anymore.  I would like to bring back to life Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, and Rosa Parks.  I would talk to them about what kind of life I should live.  Another question I would ask them is what would they do differently if they were alive right now.  I would tell them how my life is going and ask what I should do in the future.  I wonder what they would say.      

One of the most interesting parts of this story is a cloud, that overshadowed the mountain and everyone on it. The cloud is mentioned right after  Moses and Elijah were leaving. For some reason this cloud did not stay above them. It came to them surrounding them like a soft blanket. From this cloud came a booming voice saying “ This is my son, my beloved Listen to him”. After the voice the disciples found Jesus alone.

Hearing two prophets, not just any prophets but Moses and  Elijah telling you to go into a place that might be  scary.  Well if I was Jesus my answer would be “yes.”  Also having God speak to me protecting me is another reason to say “Yes.” GOD wanted Jesus in Jerusalem for a reason.

In Mr. Leopold’s 4th grade classroom this year, we learned about the poem by Robert Front called “The Road Less Traveled By.”  To me this is like when Jesus had to make a  life changing decision.  Robert Frost had to make a decision for his career.  He chose the road less traveled by, which for him was to be a writer.  Jesus takes the road less traveled by going to Jerusalem.  I haven’t had these hard of decisions yet, but I will some time in my life.  Have you taken the road less traveled by, and who helped you along the way?


Ian’s reflection:

I was a little surprised when pastor Joel asked me first, out of my whole Sunday School class, to write a reflection, a speech, maybe even a sermon (whatever you want to call it).  He gave me a paper that I was supposed to write a reflection on.  It was full of hard questions.  The question I chose to try and answer was, “When did I feel closest to God?”  At first, I started searching my life for times where a miraculous thing occurred and I was in front of God speaking with him, but then I realized it wasn’t like that. 

So I started thinking of times in my life where I guess I felt happy.  The time and the place where I feel happiest and something great happened, was when my friend Andrew got baptized.  Andrew is the son of Ginny and Jerry and is the former mentee of my dad.  He is now attending Goshen College.  At the time, we were at one of my favorite locations on earth, Camp Luz.  It was a regular Sunday morning as me and my family walked into the chapel.  At the time, I didn’t know that this church service was going to be anything special.  They were probably talking about baptism the whole time while I wasn’t paying attention, me being the average ten year old.  The next thing I know, we are singing and walking toward the lake.  I think I felt close to God because I was in a place I loved and surrounded by people who I knew care about me. 

I was writing about this amazing occasion when I realized that God is actually all around us.  Not in occasions or even places, but in all of the friends around us, just like Jesus had his friends around him, Peter, James, and John.  Remember, every time you do something good for a friend, you’re doing something good for God.  And every time a friend does something good for you, God is helping you.  Look around you and know that God is with you.  And most of all, know that He loves you.


Montgomery’s reflection:

I am going to be very blunt, I do not know very much when it comes to the Bible; however, I do know a lot when it comes to Star Wars. One might wonder, “Can Star Wars really relate to Luke 9:28-36?” I was in the same boat, but when I started to read and analyze the text, many connections were able to be made. I decided to focus on two things.  First, the people surrounding Jesus during his transformation on the mountains. Second, the power emanating from Jesus in the form of white holy light.

Jesus took his disciples, Peter, John, and James, with him when he went up the mountain. While they were on the mountain Elijah and Moses appeared around Jesus. This made me wonder, “Who do we, as God’s children, surround ourselves with, both good and bad? How do these people effect our own faith transformation?” Now, this is where Star Wars comes in, so please, try and bear with me because it will hopefully make sense in the end. Take Anakin Skywalker (the soon to be Darth Vader) for example, and his journey to the dark side, analogous to one’s journey towards God, but perhaps in the wrong direction. He surrounds himself with two distinct types of people, Jedi and Sith. Both of these types have dramatic effects on his development of understanding the force and understanding when and how he should use the force. The Jedi taught him to serve the living force, whereas the Sith taught him to strive for power and victory, “out the window with the consequences and losses.”

These same types of people can be seen during our faith journey, those who encourage us to do God’s work, the Jedi, and those who encourage us to do things for our own gain, the Sith. I personally find it hard to differentiate between the two. With some people, it’s obvious that they are truly good; for example Mother Teresa. And then of course, you have the obviously bad people, for example, Hitler. But what about those who appear good, and after you get to know them, you realize that they causing you to be on the path to the dark side? How do I recognize these possible threats to my spiritual well being? I don’t know the answer to that.

Even more difficult is, when you do recognize the dark side in someone but they also radiate light, does that mean you must avoid them altogether, or can you trust that God will let you grow in their light and maybe you can shine your light on their darkness? Anakin thought that the only way to gain power and save his wife was to join the Sith. What if there was another way, could he have done it if he had stayed with the Jedi?

This brings me to my second point about the power emanating from Jesus in the form of white holy light. While the disciples with Jesus were on the mountain, “A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”” Basically, God is saying, Jesus is my son, I have given him power and might, which can be considered analogous to the force in star wars. Jesus is much like a Jedi when it comes to the use of his “force”, he uses it for good. If we emulate how Jesus uses his power, we too will be good and gain the power given to him by God. However, just like differentiating between the two types of people, there can be fuzziness in the use of our power. I wish it were as black and white as it is made out to be in Star Wars, Good vs Evil, Jedi vs Sith. But sadly it is not.

Again, actions made with good intention may seem like the right choice, but might have dire consequences down the road. And decisions that seem plainly evil, might have a silver lining behind them that turns out to do much good. Again, a questions can be asked, “How can I tell if I am doing the right thing?” My answer is simply, “you can’t, maybe the best way to do the right thing and to shine your light is to simply, “listen to Him””.