what if we listen? (Mark 9:2-9)

In Mark 9:2-9, we travel with Jesus, Peter, James, and John up a high mountain to bear witness as Jesus's clothing shines bright like the sun, and then as he converses with two of the long-ago prophets who came before him, Moses and Elijah. This event stirs fear in John, James, and Peter.

And then, the voice of God comes from a cloud: "This is my beloved son. Listen to him."

We don't always pause long enough to take in these momentous words of God spoken to us about Jesus: "Listen to him." After all, the scene as Mark paints it is so visually overwhelming and emotionally resonant. Yet if we let ourselves stand, as fellow disciples, on the mountaintop there beside Peter and John and James, our whole bodies trembling, as theirs did, maybe we will also be able to hear God say, "Listen to him." Listen to Jesus, who is my child, and whom I love. Listen to him. Listen to Jesus.

And God doesn't mean just one time. God isn't hoping we will listen to one verse or one story, on one day, at one time in our lives. Listening to Jesus is something we who seek to learn from him need to do every day, season after season throughout our lives, as we read scriptures and sing hymns, as we explore the wonders of creation, as we study with each other, and talk with each other, as we become prophets in our many ways, and as we bring compassion to our neighbors, far and near, drawing on our many different kinds of gifts. All the while, in all these things, even when, and especially when, we disagree, can we begin to imagine what could become possible if we were able to keep listening to Jesus? even when we're scared, and even when we're confused. Maybe the most important question for us who seek to be disciples is, what if we listened?