Cathedral of Hope Prayer Ministry
Devotion for March 31, 2003
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 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. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to
accomplish at Jerusalem. 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. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"-not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 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. (Luke 9:28-36)
As I was praying for peace today, images of the tragedy of war still fresh in my mind from our instant access media, I felt such a sadness for the planet...such a sense of despair for the seeming collision course with disaster we appear to be taking the entire world on.And I prayed, "God we need the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, we need the spirit of Gandhi, the spirit of non-violence, of love, of peace." Then Jesus appeared to me, he said nothing, just beckoned me to follow him. And as I walked along with him, I saw he had called a few of my friends along as well...
Silently we followed, wondering where he was taking us; the din of the war seemed to diminish as together we climbed a steep mountain. And then, just as we reached the top, there was a blinding flash of light.And standing beside Jesus was Dr. King on one side and Gandhi on the other. The three of them talked for quite some time. It's hard to tell how much time actually passed. It could have been minutes. It could have been days.They spoke of the war and past wars and sometimes they held each other and
wept, and sometimes they spoke no words, letting the weight of their orrow anchor the moment.
And sometimes they spoke passionately and with great hope about how things could be different. About other ways of solving nternational problems...like hunger, poverty, disease, homelessness. They spoke of the negligible cost of creating a safe planet for all people. Easily accomplished if those with plenty would share with those who had none. And when they spoke of these things, my own heart caught the vision of a world of peace. And I felt the fire of hope leap up within my soul. And before I knew what I was doing, I blurted out "Jesus! This is so cool! This is what I want! This is what I've been praying for! The Spirit of Gandhi and the Spirit of Dr. King, infused with your Holy Spirit, this is what we need! Let's stay here! This is where we need to be! Let's build monuments here, place an interactive learning guide with quotes made by all of you. Let's build a camp ground so people can come and sojourn here and catch the vision, too!"
As soon as I spoke I was sorry, for it seemed the spell was broken. With a roaring silence I was wrenched from the kairos time of God back into the chronos reality of this world. And I realized that while we had been on top of the mountain, the sound of war had grown louder once more; the clamor of people keening in grief and pain filled my ears.
I wanted to turn away, wanted to hold onto the moment on the mountaintop.But then a voice like thunder rent open the heavens and said "This is my Chosen Child...listen, listen."
As the voice reverberated through my spirit a remarkable thing occurred.First I saw Jesus even as the voice said "this is my Chosen Child" but suddenly the mountain was swept away or I was swept away and even as the Voice echoed again and again that sentence I saw other faces, the face of an Iraqi child, orphaned five minutes ago, bleeding and crying for her mother;
the face of an American POW, frightened and pale, the face of a British soldier lying lifeless in the sand and the face of his partner when he heard the news.
I saw the faces of homeless children in Boston and entire families in Africa, AIDS etched indelibly across their features.And still the Voice continued as each face came into view, "This is my son, this is my daughter, and this one and this one, my Chosen...listen to them,oh listen."
From a distance I heard someone weeping and it wasn't until the vision left that I realized it was me.
And I understood then. Peace was not about building monuments to those whose lives were given for Peace but in becoming a monument for peace in my own life, in my own time and world. Peace wouldn't be attained by sporadic anti-war rallies but by making every action I take become a Prayer for Peace.
Oh I wanted to stay on the mountaintop, wanted to soak in the holy hope Christ offered there, wanted to remain in the company of two whose lives had been an offering of the sweet incense of peace. But I understood then what the Voice had been saying, If I was to see Christ and listen to him I could not stay in the serenity of undiluted hope, in the rare air of saints. If I was to see the chosen-ness of each child of God and listen to their cries for justice and for peace, I could not remain in sterile desire for peace, I
had to go out into the world, into the grittiness of fear and pain, of complexities and confusion of loyalties. I had to go where the language of enemy was spoken and teach the language of love.
Devotion by Rev. Nori Rost
Pastor, Pikes Peak MCC
Colorado Springs, Colorado