Saturday, 25 February 2017

Challenge and change in our lives

The human being is under constant strain as each person changes on a daily basis in small and large ways.  These changes may be a simple as re-newing our skin each day or the more complex mental and social changes that come with the break up of a partnership.  So often at moments of stress with the implications of change to our perceptions narrow down and focus on anything we can think of to become an anchor (Matt 17.4).  Individuals and organisations all respond in similar ways by re-casting a new foundation that stops the change process and builds a new structure that can bring comfort and solace.

Social change is inevitable as we continue to adapt to our burgeoning knowledge and competencies in new technologies.  This creates instability within our lives as can be seen for example by changes to the energy sector in Australia.  Those who presumed that their livelihoods were in a sense guaranteed by the resource sectors burgeoning profit have become uncertain in the face of changing economic realities and the global impetus towards a sustainable energy future.  There is now a vacuum in which people are existing attempting to find some solidity to their future and the future energy needs of a burgeoning society.  The mountaintop experience drops into this vacuum announcing the possibilities of a new future and hope.  In such circumstances the new vision / hope is subsumed into a twisted reality that falls back onto known ideals and systems that have served over decades becoming fixated in a manner that does not allow for the hope expressed to become realised.

The mountain top gives us a fleeting look at the way ahead

In the purview of religious and faith structures the same thing happens and we have a tendency to be like Peter grasping for the familiar in a new and changing landscape.  In keeping with all moments of transfiguration or change the moment is fleeting and disruptive.  The sudden understanding that this, whatever this is, is a momentous moment that has an lasting impact upon our lives. It leaves us drifting with no anchor and a need to find ourselves in a familiar a haven.  The mountain top experience is a liminal space and place that is unique in that it brings to the fore a glimpse of the hope for the future yet centering it in the uncertainty of the present. That hope is now our centre, a vision that needs to come into reality within our lives as we cement it into a new way of being / doing / thinking.  Our challenge is to see the hope made reality rather than an anchor in the past to subsume the hope.  The disciples are looking for an unchanged reality that they can cope with and are familiar with, rather than to formulate a new understanding based on the hope that they have seen.

The hope that appears in the mountain top experience is not necessarily something that manifests immediately.  Just look at the disciples it was years before they realised that hope and only after the resurrection.  The experience is but a signpost and something that invigorates us for the next part of the journey.  Showing us that hope is present it is not something that needs to be grabbed but rather it is something that needs to be followed.  It is a breaking into the present of an intimation of the future requiring us to acknowledge it and act upon that knowledge to bring about the hope that has been expressed.  There are as many downs before the fulfillment of the hope as there are ups towards it.  However, if we cling to the familiar we will never move into the future journey that brings us so much joy, laughter and love.

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