Blogging Towards Sunday, March 6
Fear - Katy Perry - Westboro Baptist Church
My kids sing the song "Firework" by Katy Perry often these past weeks. A current pop music hit, the words resonate with me as I reflect upon the scriptures proposed for this week:
"Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting throught the wind
Wanting to start again
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards
One blow from caving in
Do you ever feel already buried deep
Six feet under scream
But no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there's still a chance for you
Cause there's a spark in you..."
We all are often afraid, fearful, overwhelmed, feeling like that plastic bag drifting through the wind, wanting to start again. I wonder if that is similar to what the disciples, or maybe even Jesus felt when they climbed that mountain? Maybe Moses felt the same sort of thing: overwhelmed by the hugeness of it all - so much to do - so much to become - so much to address - so much to overcome. The disciples have journeyed with Jesus. It's now a turning point in the gospel narratives (Mark, Matthew and Luke) - what comes after this transforming experience of the transfiguration is nothing like what came before. They're on the edge of a precipice. Jesus knows it. The disciples: who knows?
It's a story - in fact both are - of vision. The illuminating presence of God which makes all things new. A voice ringing from the mountain top that seems to be heard rarely, but never forgotten. Peter is terrified - the others too I suspect - they want to hold on to the moment, not let this courage-giving certainty slip through their fingers. Paralyzed by fear, it's only with the healing touch of Jesus that they regain focus and glimpse where they need to go. They've gone to the mountaintop and can never be the same. I'm not sure it's so much what they saw and heard that changed them, as that healing touch of Jesus that recentered them.
This week the Supreme Court upheld the freedom of speech as per the protests of the Westboro Baptist Church around our country [article]. They have one way of proclaiming their experience of a God who bursts into our fears and frees us from them. I have another. And yet in the midst of the debate about their approach I wonder what approach we - as the established Church - the community of those who claim to be Jesus Follower's, like Peter, how do we proclaim that we have encountered Jesus as truth, messiah, light, healer, firework? It's got to be different than merely protests at funerals and pointing fingers. It has to be something like the way Jesus touches Peter in the text - gentle, compassionate, a presence alongside another in fear, a relationship that brings focus, clarity, mutual action.