There are many threads in this week’s appointed readings. One is the “shining” face of both Moses and Jesus. One is the communion of Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. One is the witness (and what they witnessed) of the disciples. One is the declaration that Jesus is God’s beloved Son and we should listen to what he says. I feel elevated by these readings, that is, lifted “higher and higher”. This is a marvelous place to be. This is what we can expect when we “listen to Jesus”—not that the journey will be easy or without difficulty but we will achieve a higher plane. I choose that. Do you?
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Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. . . . While he [Peter] was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” . . . And when they [disciples] looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
sermons4kids: “You and I have many wonderful experiences in our daily walk with Jesus. Others should see that we have the love of Jesus in our heart by seeing his reflection our bright shining faces!”
Collect: O God, who before the passion of your only begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Reflection: Why does Jesus instruct the disciples to keep quiet about what they had seen “until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead” (Matt. 17:9)?
Saint Focus: What do you know about “White Rose”? It was a resistance group during the rise and reign of Nazi Germany. Many of those in White Rose were young educated people. Two in this group are Hans & Sophie Scholl, twins from a family of six siblings. They were arrested while distributing anti-Hitler flyers, tried, and executed by guillotine. Read more at the link below (and be sure to follow the link to Wikipedia) [from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church.]
This week, the saints under consideration were :
- 22; Margaret of Cortona, Monastic, 1297 AND Eric Liddell, Missionary to China, 1945 AND Hans & Sophie Scholl, Martyrs, 1943
- 23; Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr of Smyrna, 156 AND Kate Harwood Waller Barrett, Philanthropist & Social Reformer, 1925
- 24; Saint Matthias the Apostle AND Amanda Berry Smith, Preacher & Missionary, 1915
- 25; John Roberts, Priest, 1949
- 26; Photini, The Samaritan Woman, c.67
Brain Food: “To lift from shadow“, poem by Andrew King; “Eyes Opened” by Bob Cornwall;
Reflection by Thomas H. Troeger
[God], transfigure our perception / With the purest light that shines, / And recast our life’s intentions / To the shape of Your designs, / Till we seek no other glory / Than what lies past Calvary’s hill / And our living and our dying / and our rising / by Your will.
image Latimore, Kelly. Transfiguration, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=57114 [retrieved February 12, 2020]. Original source: https://kellylatimoreicons.com/contact/.
Preparing for Lent: Here’s one activity for Lent you may wish to participate in. Set a bag to hold your “things”. Each day of Lent, find something that you no longer use and put it in the bag. Then during Holy week, give your bag of things to a local charity. And for the 2nd activity, participate in Lent Madness (Facebook page) or website. Lent Madness is a fun way to learn about the saints of our church. Each day you select one of two saints who you believe is more “worthy” to be a saint. Near Palm Sunday, one of the selected saints will earn the “golden halo”. And “you helped”!
In the epistle this week (2 Peter 1:16-21), Peter tells about this mountaintop experience of seeing Jesus transfigured and encountering his full glory and majesty that is recorded in the gospel. What good news to share! How do we today listen to Jesus? How do we experience glimpses of transfiguration, of seeing God at work in our world—restoring, transforming, loving—in and through both ordinary and extraordinary experiences and people?
Excerpted from So It Is website.
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On this final Sunday before Lent, we always have as our Gospel reading the account of Jesus’ transfiguration. This event is chosen primarily because it marks the turning point in the story of Jesus. It was on this occasion that Jesus clearly foretold his approaching death and resurrection. Thus we are pointed in our Lenten pilgrimage toward the cross and Easter.
The Old Testament reading records Moses’ meeting with God on Mt. Sinai in an event like the transfiguration. His forty days and nights with God on the mountain are a prefiguring of our time with God in Lent.
The second reading records the memory of the transfiguration event as a sign that the writer’s message is truth, being an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry. We are also witnesses as God transforms us into the likeness of Christ.
Today the Church uses the Easter word “Alleluia” for the last time until the resurrection is proclaimed at the Great Vigil of Easter. In many churches, the ancient “farewell to Alleluia” hymn (Alleluia, song of gladness, Hymn 122 or 123, The Hymnal 1982) is sung at the conclusion of the service today. “Alleluia” is omitted from the liturgy throughout Lent in order that its restoration at Easter will underscore our experience of renewal on that day.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.