Scripture for this week:
2 Kings 2.1–12; Psalm 50.1–6; 2 Corinthians 4.3–6; Mark 9.2–9
Fear and risk are prevalent in our world, and emphasised by the media. How do we deal with this? How do we transcend our primitive instincts that generate fear?
All too often, we lump people into groups, label them, presume to know about them based upon stereotypes. But when we do this, we are not behaving as true human beings; by dehumanising others, we dehumanise ourselves.
In establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, former Archbishop Desmond Tutu insisted that the voices of both offended and offender must be heard, because there cannot be peace without the truth of all sides being heard. The telling of truth is transformative.
Life, of course, is full of risk. On the day after Valentine’s day, we have to consider that the giving of hearts – love itself – is a risky business. But if we don’t offer ourselves in love, we run an even greater risk of missing much love and joy, which can transform our lives.
One thing that we do to manage risk is to cling to what is familiar in the face of change. But in reality, what is familiar can be an illusion, a fleeting fancy. In reality, life is full of risks: moving to a foreign land; giving ourselves in love; being willing to hear the truth of others, especially when it differs from our own; telling the prophetic truth. We can either let the risk and the fear that goes with it rule our lives, or we can seek transformation.
When the disciples chose to follow Jesus, they took considerable risk. When a few of them followed him up the mountain, they saw the transformation that was about their vision of Jesus more than any change in him. The risk did not go away – eventually it became greater – but their lives were transformed and illuminated by the light of Christ’s presence, captured in iconic form on the mountain.
The model of Christian discipleship is to be willing to take such risks to follow Christ, including that great risk: not just to love our enemies (a term that has lost some currency), but to love those whom we fear, which is the great challenge of our age.