Ever had a really bad day? Ever had a really good one? What if they were the same moment? The same episode. What if instead of trying to gloss over life's chaos and bypass pain, we instead confronted our suffering face-to-face and came to see the redemptive lining in every situation?
The line in the title above, from Fyodor Dostoevsky, captures the themes of glory hidden in suffering, transfiguration hidden in pain, and the resurrection hidden in the cross that are central to both our celebration of Transfiguration and our remembrance of the season of Lent, which is to come this Wednesday (February 18). It is also central, I contend, to our understanding of life.
The message of Transfiguration is that we should "put off our tents" (2 Peter 1:10-19) and pick up our cross (Matthew 16:24) to follow Jesus from this Sunday through Lent and in the everyday good and bad we face. This time is an invitation to regain a redemptive understanding of suffering and not be caught up in the false hopes of our own glory, progress, and personal growth.
Here is the full audio of my sermon at First Lutheran Church in Gainesville, FL (February 15, 2015), which explores these themes alongside a helping of Jon Stewart, ash, and more: