Read Mark 9:2-13
Six days later, Jesus takes Peter, James and John to the top of a mountain. What happens next would be forever etched into the memories of those three.
At the top of the mountain these three disciples witness Jesus as he undergoes a radical change. The bible tells us that Jesus was transfigured before the disciples. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines transfiguration as ‘a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state’. In front of the disciples Jesus was transformed; the only description we get of this experience is that his clothes became dazzling white. On top of this, two great Old Testament leaders also appear, Elijah and Moses. As I read this, I have wondered how the disciples knew it was Elijah and Moses – did they just know or did Jesus have to do introductions. Really, it’s not important – what is important is that at the top of the mountain something significant is occurring – Jesus has taken on a new appearance and is in deep conversation with Elijah and Moses. Exactly what were they discussing? No one knows for sure, but I can’t help but feel it was essentially Jesus explaining to these two magnificent biblical leaders exactly what was to occur. Explaining that God had a plan in place from the very beginning, and in the next little bit everything that had been set in place from the very beginning was about to unfurl.
Again, we also get a glimpse of the disciple’s lack of understanding. Upon seeing Jesus shine brighter than the brightest white, in deep conversation with two men who had passed from earth many years before, the disciples offer a ridiculous suggestion – shall we built some shelter. The disciples are looking for a sense of the permanent in the temporary. In short, the disciples had no clue what was going on. This was too far beyond their understanding.
And then, just like at Jesus’ baptism, the voice of God is heard again confirming who Jesus is; “my Son”, but this time it is coupled with a command to those present; “listen to him”.
And the message for the modern Christian is no different, “listen to him”. To follow Christ is to imitate Christ in all things. To walk in his footsteps, to seek to imitate him in all that we do. And this begins with listening. We must take time to listen to Christ. To hear his teachings and his guidance for our everyday. To develop our ears so that we can identify when he is speaking. To be able to discern his voice from all the other voices in our world, and from our own selfish voice.
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- One of the ways that it helpful to develop our ability to listen to Jesus is the prayer of Examen. Have a go at doing this (parents maybe this could be done in smaller time frames with younger children. At the end of todays post we have included two suggested formats for the prayer of examen.
- Take time to listen for God’s promptings this week as you spend time in prayer, reading God’s word (the bible) and observing the world around you.
Pray For Each Other
If you get a chance during the day or later in the week, catch up Mark 9:14-29 because tomorrow we continue to Mark 9:30.
Prayer of Examen for younger children ages 5-9 (adapted from suggested outline at; https://www.dsj.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/STF-Daily-Examen-for-Families.pdf)
- Beginning Prayer. Set a prayerful tone. “Let’s pray about our day.”
“God, you have been with us all day long, since the time we woke up until now. Help us to remember our day so we can bring it to you.”
- What happened today?
Review the events of the day, moving through the parts of the day and offering prompts as necessary. “What happened in the morning when we woke up? . . . What happened at school? . . . When we got home? . . . When were we angry? . . . Sad? . . . Happy? . . . What was beautiful? . . . What was amazing?” Optionally, write down responses on a dry erase board or in a prayer journal.
- How was God present, and how did we respond?
“How was God acting in your life today?” You will probably need to name this for your children at first, or supplement their responses with your own suggestions. It might be obvious that God is present in moments of beauty and joy, but you can help your children see how God is also present during times of challenge and sadness. Ask, “How did we respond to God’s presence? When were we loving? When weren’t we loving?”
- Pray the day.
Invite your children to think about what Jesus is saying to them through the events of the day. Ask guiding questions such as, “What do you think Jesus says about our day?” Invite them to pray in response: “What do we want to tell Jesus about what happened today?” Encourage simple words of praise, thankfulness, repentance, forgiveness, and petitions for the grace to draw closer to God in the coming day.
Prayer of Examen:
- Make time (10-15minutes) when you won’t be interrupted. Find a quiet and comfortable place where you can just stop. Put your phone on silent or even better in another room. A notepad beside you can be helpful to drop down thoughts.
- Take some time to concentrate on your breathing. Allow yourself to slow down, become conscious of your own breathing.
- Take a moment to thank God that he has been with you throughout the day. Thanks God that he knows you and loves you.
- Think through your day, beginning from your waking moments. As you can think through each part of your day and pay notices to those ways that God has been with you, thank God for the ways that he has provided for you throughout the day.
- As you think through the day if something comes to mind that convicts you, take time to acknowledge that, to confess that to God and then trust in his forgiveness and grace.
- When you get back to the present, stop. Finish with a prayer of thankfulness and gratitude.
- If particular things came to mind you may wish to jot them down in your notebook.