by Megan McKenna, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
The thought of God testing us is terrifying. To be singled out, to have our mettle and our hearts laid bare is awful. We will see what we will not sacrifice, not trust to God, not hand over. Abraham was a friend to God, and God wanted all of Abraham: his child, his future, his name, his trust, even in the face of impossible demands that seem to destroy his dreams and contradict even God’s earlier promises. Nothing is spared, nothing left to Abraham. And Abraham obeys.
Lent calls us to listen, to obey and to offer in sacrifice all we are and have. And, in that obedience, others will see through us to the glory of God.
Peter, James and John are privileged to pray with Jesus, to go off alone together. They catch a glimpse of glory and want the world to go away. They want to settle down and put up tents. But their plans are abruptly interrupted; instead they are told to listen — to listen to God’s beloved child. To listen is to obey like Abraham, like Jesus handing over life to God. Obeying transfigures our lives and radically alters the future. Abraham was given a nation and an unbelievable future. Jesus was given back life, glory and power.
God does not spare the beloved child, and we are not spared either. In baptism we are given the same privileged relationship with God that Jesus experienced, but that relationship does not protect us from suffering. It calls us to sacrifice, to walk toward God, to get close to divinity. And that closeness is pain. Glory shines through us, but the Spirit does not penetrate flesh easily — there is too much resistance, too much fear. Jesus suffered violence unjustly, as one poor and innocent.
Aligned with God as friends, we must make friends with the poor, the innocent, and all those who suffer unjustly. It is there that the glory shines through most clearly. Today we are tested but privileged to be intimate with God as beloved friends and children. We will need to remember the glory that seeps into our flesh.
This reflection was written by Megan McKenna in the reflection booklet, Rend Your Heart: A Lenten Journal for Peacemakers, 1988. This year’s reflection booklet is by Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Colleen Kelly, From Ashes to Resurrection, Dust to New Life, and is available as a download for purchase from the Pax Christi USA website. For more reflections and resources for Lent 2012, click here.