Blog & Pastor Letters

Transformation on the Highest Point

07-11-2021Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

Flying fascinates me. Long distance flights are my best. I relax, read a bestseller, a news magazine, listen to good music and then smile at the beautiful air hostesses. I do so with respect but with a purpose: to get extra attention when I need it. Normally after eating I ask for extra red wine, continue reading and then fall sleep by dreaming my life away. See why I love flying? But that is not all. What fascinates me most about air travel is that every time I am at 36,000ft. Above Sea Level, I see visions of my life clearly like in a crystal glass and hear voices as audibly as my music. Mostly I hear topics related to what I do or what I should be doing with my life. I am serious about this.

For instance, one time I did a duty tour of four West African countries from Nigeria into Ghana, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and The Gambia. Every bit of the first section of the journey went well. In the second section of the journey, I went from Banjul and was returning to Nigeria. The aircraft had to land at Monrovia in Liberia to drop off some passengers and take in some more to Accra and Lagos. In trying to land the aircraft, we encountered terrible weather, hailstorm, heavy rain, and gusty winds at Roberts International Airport Monrovia. At the first attempt, the pilot decided to abort landing and return to back up because he was not sure of the runway, due to poor visibility. He missed the runway at the second attempt and had to inform us about his predicament. It was then I knew we were in trouble. I passed out. I was already in a trance. I heard a voice say to me “Write a book about your experience.” I disregarded the voice. It repeated itself again. I wanted to listen. But I replied to the voice, “How can I write a book when my plane is hanging in the air?” It was then I heard the pilot announce that we had landed after the fourth attempt. All the passengers impulsively busted into shouts of joy. The clapping was purely in thanksgiving to God for allowing us to touch down despite the foggy weather conditions. After the weather cleared, we took off and continued our journey to Lagos, Nigeria.

In today’s gospel, Jesus took Peter, John and James and ascended a high mountain to pray. And there before their very eyes, Jesus was transfigured, “His face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” The apostles saw Moses and Elijah with him. Peter said, “Let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” This was truly incredible that Peter spoke in this way not knowing what to do at the sight of these great men of history. Moses was the law giver; his presence was to give legality to Jesus’ mission of winning the battle ahead of him.

Elijah was the prophet of transformation and cleansing; he appeared to illumine the path of affliction to Jerusalem with the fire of God’s love. These great men appeared when Jesus was in deep prayer and the apostles shared in this moment of illumination and spiritual cleansing.
The gospel from Luke 9:28-36 is an invitation to us to seek transformation through prayer. The high mountain is Mt. Tabor in Israel and Jesus ascended it to reassure his apostles about his coming glory and triumph. Do you remember the contest of Elijah with the prophets of Baal? In 1 Kings 18: 17-40 we read how Elijah won the battle against the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmen when he prayed to Yahweh to consume the sacrifice on the altar. God listened to his prayers and did not desert him. In the same way, Jesus got affirmation of victory in his coming battles with the Roman authorities and his eventual victory at Calvary.

St. Paul in Philippians 3: 17-4:1 encourages us to be imitators of Christ by conducting ourselves as citizens of heaven. We need to remember that Paul spoke in this way because he became a changed man out of the darkness of unbelief into the light of God’s grace. His life was changed after an encounter with Jesus on the way to Damascus to persecute Christians. Now he speaks of, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.” Paul completely left his old ways behind him and followed the cause of Jesus. In fact, he speaks to us today in tears for what his eyes have seen awaiting all those who trust in the power of God to save them.

Such is the faith of Abram who is considered the friend of God. He believed God and God multiplied his descendants as many as the sand on the seashore and as the stars of heaven. God gave his descendants the land of the Canaanites as their inheritance. Part of Genesis 15:5 -12, 17-18 says, “When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch, which passed between those pieces. It was on that occasion that the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I give this land.” He put his faith in God and God did not disappoint him. In our Lenten journey, we ought to seek transformation through prayer and have faith in God. When we engage in prayer, it takes our minds into the height of God divine presence. God speaks in visions, dreams and in any way he deems fit. God gives us more opportunities to change our lives even at 36,000ft above sea level or bad weather. Begin a new journey with God to get transformed. Keep praying.