The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration, Wofgang Lettl

Mark 9:2-9
It sounds like Barth, so i’ll credit it to him:
the bible should always be read with newspaper in hand.

todays papers are, of course, bleak
stories of corporate and financial scandals
politicians who seem devoid of memory, compassion, morality

and the countless tragedies (told in 500 words or less
with or without a picture):
a murder on a train
a drought, a famine, a disease, a civil war, a cartoon, a mudslide
(alongside echoes of an earthquake, and a tsunami –
faded newsprint, now, except for those who lived them)

and the blackest of headlines about a tragic car accident
that can only hint at the raw, devastating despair of a town.

an aching multiplied unendingly across the world.

and i flick the pages of the bible to a story of a mountain,
and i read in disbelief
of how people blinded by your light
(good for them!)
check they’ve put you in the right place in the succession of prophets,
look to build you somewhere to live on the mountain top,
and argue together about what it all means

but here, where the black ink of the newspaper headlines has seeped through the pages
and stained all of life,
the light on top of the mountain is so far away
it’s just a glimmer
an unattainable promise
a taunt
a cruel clich??

and if this faith is to mean anything
all we can do is hope that at any moment
they’ll let you get on with the real business of being a saviour.

we could do with it.