Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves, And he was transfigured before them, … Mark 9:2.
Maybe the compilers of the liturgical calendar knew what they were doing. We read the Sunday before Ash Wednesday about the transfiguration.
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John high up the mountain where he is transfigured. The disciples see Jesus in all his glory, along with Elijah and Moses and they suggest Jesus stay there. The disciples will even build three buildings for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses to live in. Why go back to human form they must have thought.
But Jesus knows that’s not the plan. He takes them back down the mountain, once again to reality and tells them not to say a word until he has risen from the dead. It’s as if he took the disciples to the Gold medal ceremony first, and then takes them back to training camp and says we have a lot of work to do. He says, don’t even think about the award ceremony until we’ve paid the price to get there, and boy do they all pay the price.
Lent is our training camp, or our two-a-days, spring practice, and fourth quarter class rolled into one. It’s time to put on our helmets and buckle our chin straps of prayer, meditation, sacrifice, worship, and service. And whether we win a gold medal or are transfigured or not, our lenten discipline is really all about how you participate and “play the game” although its hardly a game this time.