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I offer condolences to all those affected by yesterday’s tragic shootings in Connecticut, especially to the families of those killed.  I had to think about whether to publish this post.  I decided that more than ever we need to think and pray about this world and the hope we must have in the eventual achievement of the peaceable kingdom.   I am thinking of the words of John’s Gospel.  “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it”.  Amidst the terrible darkness of this day, the light still shines and will not, cannot be overcome by the forces of darkness.  We must have faith and act on our faith to work together for a better world, where all children can grow up free from violence.  But we must also mourn these senseless killings, the broken families, and wonder about our part in this.

 

This is the 14th in a series of daily Advent reflections based on the Daily readings. To see the other posts in this series click on the Advent Reflections link above, or in the right-hand sidebar under categories.

Today’s reading is Matthew 17:9-13 click on this link to see the full text on the Oremus Bible Browser.

I used to love an old game we had as children.  I can’t remember its name.  It was a set of cards with photographs of ordinary objects shot from unusual angles.  You had to guess what each object was.  I think there was a normal view on the back of the card.  It was a lot of fun trying to figure out what each picture was.

I thought I would show you some images and let you try to guess what they are.  Then show you a more complete image that will reveal all.  The first is a little different.   It’s about blending into the background.

Blending in

Blending in

This one is easy – I am sure you can make out the grass-hopper.  But when we were walking along this rocky location it was very easy to miss, unless of course he jumped up in front of you, then it could be your heart-beat that missed.

Look at the detailed pictures below and try to guess what they might be before scrolling down.

What do you see?

What do you see?

It was a detail of this picture made out of stones, part of a path on the Malecon, Puerto Vallarta

It was a detail of this picture made out of stones, part of a path on the Malecon, Puerto Vallarta

Sometimes we don’t see the big picture in life, we especially don’t see God’s.

Try this one, then scroll down for the revelation.

What are those things?

What are those things? What is the surface they are on?

need to leave a bit of space here.

Clue – this is a close-up.

What do you think?

This guy cleans as he walks.  Some kind of tifted moth Hillside Beach, Manitoba

This guy cleans as he walks. It’s the caterpillar stage of a kind of tufted moth seen at Hillside Beach, Manitoba  But what is he walking on?

It was a caterpillar sitting on the back of my chair. If you squint you might notice that we are looking down on the chair back, The Caterpillar is on the back-rest – the whitish, blurry lines that look like they are going up are actually the back supports of the chair looking down.

Would you like to try another one?

Looks quite eggy, but it's not

Looks quite eggy, but it’s not

Any ideas?

It's a mushroom - or some type of fungus.  We hadn't seen one like this before.  Hillside Beach again.

It’s a mushroom – or some type of fungus. We hadn’t seen one like this before. Hillside Beach again.

Isn’t it amazing what nature dishes up when you are looking.

Ok, one more

Lovely patterns - but apparently beige is for 'old' people according to my granddaughter!

Lovely patterns – but apparently beige is for ‘old’ people according to my granddaughter!

What do you think this could be?  The pattern is so extraordinary, very asymmetrical.

It’s like looking at clouds.  What pictures can you see in the pattern. What does it remind you of?

Ok, you want to know what it is.

Can’t tell you the proper name but here it is

It's a kind of puff-ball fungus/mushroom we found near Morden, Manitoba.

It’s a kind of puff-ball fungus/mushroom we found near Morden, Manitoba. About two or three inches across (the large one).

And so to today’s reflection, if you just came for the photos – hope to see you tomorrow.

Today’s passage is set right after Jesus, witnessed by his most trusted disciples, is transfigured on the mountain.  The disciples see him in a vision joined by Moses and Elijah,  and hear God’s voice saying, “This is my Son, the beloved, with him I am well pleased; listen to him“. (I added the emphasis) Our story today is about their journey back down from the mountain top.  We can’t stay on the mountain tops.  They are leaving the physical and spiritual heights.  They have seen and heard marvellous things.  Now they are returning to a more normal form of reality.  Jesus tells them not to say anything about this miracle they have witnessed, until he is raised from the dead.  That should have shaken them out of their revery!  There is then a discussion about the coming of Elijah.  “Isn’t he supposed to come first?” they ask Jesus.  Jesus tells them not only are they right, but he has already come! The disciples seem to have missed it.  Jesus, without naming names, tells them John the Baptist had been the returning Elijah. He had prepared the way for the Messiah.  But now the sad truth.  The powers of the world failed to recognize who he was.  Because John had bravely denounced King Herod’s evil activities he had been arrested and murdered in prison.

Now to really bring them back down to reality, Jesus says he too will not be recognized and will suffer a similar fate as John.   Talk about going from the heights of bliss to the depths of despair.   Of course, they didn’t yet understand what it meant to be the Messiah. Tom Wright puts it well “Jesus hadn’t come to sweep all before him with a blaze of power.  He had come to bring God’s kingdom of love and power, and the way to that kingdom lay down the road of suffering.”  (Matthew For Everyone, Westminster Knox Press).

But this is the season of Advent, a time of hopeful anticipation.  That road of suffering that Jesus took, led to his being raised from the dead, we now live in a new time – the time that began at Easter and will be perfected in his return. Death no longer has the last word for human kind.

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