TRANSFIGURATION... This Week at UCCW
“It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” --Marianne Williamson
“So how d’ya like the weather?”
That’s the question my partner Satya keeps getting asked as she settles into Watertown this week. I’m pretty sure all of us are “over” this whole winter thing by now! It’s definitely a change from the perpetually spring-like temperatures and sunny skies of Berkeley, CA, where she and I both lived most recently.
Although I could do without the -25F windchill, I do love living in a place with four seasons. I love watching a landscape that was green and overgrown when I arrived in July transformed into a winter wonderland, knowing that as the days lengthen and spring comes (God willing!), the land will take on a new and different loveliness.
It also reminds me that this time last year, I was back in South Dakota for my ordination interview in the UCC. Gazing out the frosted window of a friend’s house on a bluff above the Missouri River just outside of Vermillion, and reflecting on the bittersweet beauty of the passage of time, I wrote a poem for Transfiguration Sunday, which we will celebrate this coming Sunday (3/3).
The Transfiguration is that moment in the Gospels when Jesus offers his disciples a dazzling glimpse of “Who He Is” atop Mt. Tabor. It’s traditionally the final Sunday before Ash Wednesday, when we descend from the sunlit heights of Epiphany into the Lenten lowlands of self-reflection and spiritual discipline. So in honor of changing seasons—in nature, in the liturgical calendar, in our lives—I offer that poem here.
by Tom Emanuel
In spring these hills are green like rain
and the sky before a big storm. Pregnant
like annunciation, shining as the eyes of a woman
I might have loved, once. Now they are
brown and white, these Russian winter hills,
long grasses frozen like river and the past.
The wind troika’s west to east, breathing
from farmstead to farmstead: contract,
expand, contract again, like hope. To seek
to change another is not love, it is
unbelief. Who do you say I am? Not
who I am; who you wanted me to become.
To permit another to change Is closer
to truth, to change and change again
at seasons’ insistence. Letting be. I will
build no dwelling on this frosted ridge
above the prairie, only bow to the turning
and Time’s quieter transfigurations.
QUESTIONS FOR THE WEEK: What season of life do you find yourself in right now? What rituals do you use to mark the passage of time? What difference does community make for you navigating the changing seasons?