Transfiguration | Bob Reid

The Transfiguration

 “While he was speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the clouds a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him.”-Matthew 17

“I would do anything humanly possible to have you leave this service knowing that you are implicated in the transfiguration of Jesus.”

The Transfiguration of Jesus refers to the occasion on which Jesus climbs to the top of a mountain with Peter, James, and John. While they are at the top of the mountain, Jesus’ appearance is transfigured into a dazzling vision and Elijah and Moses appear alongside of him. The disciples hear the voice of God affirm who Jesus is. It is an odd scene-dramatic and fantastic. It is not a story that I (or most people, I assume) feel personally implicated in. So, when Bob leaned forward and said in earnest, that he hopes that we leave feeling implicated, he had my interest peaked.

What does this bright episode of light and sound mean for me? Bob began by pointing out that for Peter (as evidenced in 2 Peter 1), the Transfiguration was a moment of clarity about Jesus’ identity that gave the disciples and assurance of who Jesus was. In this moment on the mountain, the veil is pulled back on Jesus’ identity and he is revealed in his glory. The event occurs on the Sabbath day in three gospels and on the 8th day (the day of the resurrection) in Luke. The point being that in this moment of transfiguration, things are the way they were meant to be. Alongside of Moses Christ is revealed as the fulfillment of the law. Alongside of Elijah he is the great prophet.

We are invited to participate in transfiguration as well. From glory to glory, Paul says. In Jesus’ transfiguration, the veil is pulled back. For a moment things are the way they are supposed to be. The New Testament talks about our own transfiguration as we are united to Christ. Our union with him transforms us so that it is “no longer I who live, but Christ in me.” There are moments in our lives where the veil is pulled back and we can behold the glory of God in a brother, sister, or enemy. We can see them as they really are. Perhaps there are times when we look in the mirror and realize that the promise spoken over Jesus, “This is my beloved with whom I am well pleased,” is spoken over us.

Prayers of the People

Lord God, We are in need of a glimpse of Jesus who is the truth – the truth that love is stronger than hate; peace is possible; and life can emerge even in the midst of devastation. We pray for that truth to be known:

We are in need of a glimpse of Jesus who is the life; inviting us to follow in his footsteps as he trod the way of love and justice, inviting us to follow him in prayer as he lived out his faith and made You known.

We give thanks for the good news that unfolds in the world as people dream your dreams, follow your nudging, and seek you in the faces they meet each day. Perhaps, O God, it is the only Transfiguration we really need.

Lord God, Renew and restore a vision of care for your creation. Remind us to take what we need and no more. Encourage us in a counter-cultural faithfulness that is not about consumerism. Spur us with new insight and deeper understanding that we may live mindfully each day, conscious of the impact of we do and fail to do.

Draw us to the rhythm of Lent as it unfolds in our midst; a sacred invitation to explore the corners of our soul. Open us to your light that we might see ourselves clearly, with all our fears and faults and faith, with all our desires and dreams and duties. Help us to see our journey as a place of your appearing – that like Peter, James, and John we may come down from the mountain and set one foot in front of the other in your name and for your sake.

Lord in your mercy....Hear our Prayer