The anniversary of a Transfiguration, a mushroom cloud and a drone strike

 Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’ When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. (Luke 9:28-36)

Have you been on the mountain when the cloud has come down to embrace it? It is like a moist mist, creeping around you and into your bones. The bright views of the valley are gone in a moment, replaced by a swirling grey-white nothingness as far as the eye can see. The path is lost. The only place to be is where you are, still and patient, until the cloud either lifts or falls, and the light breaks through once more.

It is like being in the womb of the world, where the universe shrinks to the touch of water on your fingertips and the wall of damp air that extends forever and into your essence, so that time and space and history and all that is known are hidden from view, until the light breaks through once more.

In the cloud, the precipices present themselves far too late; safest to stay away, stay still, wait it out.

But we who have been born, once or twice, we do not belong in the womb, and if we stay too long our fingers will wrinkle and our skin sag and we will begin to chill and sweat and hunger; we do not belong in the womb any longer; we have to make our way in the world,

we cannot hide from our history, the strange-shaped clouds and their terrible particles of water and dead air;

we cannot hide from our future; we know that even blind drones are seeking their way through the cloud;

ever more urgent, then, that we try to find our way

with compass and map and a gps and Jesus

until the light breaks through once more.


With prayers for those who have no safe space to stay today, and those who fear for their safety, and for those who would help them out of harm’s way, for a peaceful passage through the clouds.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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