Transfiguration of Our Lord—Year A—March 2, 2014
Preached at the Lutheran Church of Framingham
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight oh Lord, our strength, and our redeemer.
There is so much going on in today’s texts. Even without the story of Moses going up on his own mountain or Peter’s hindsight reflection on the event, Matthew’s account of the transfiguration is chock full.
This story is a turning point in the flow of Jesus’ story.
– Points back to Baptism: “this is my son…”
– Points back to temptation: loneliness
– Points forward to crucifixion: mountain top
– Points forward to resurrection: white clothes, “do not be afraid”
– It also points back to Moses and Elijah of course…their encounters with God on mountaintops, their struggles, sacrifices, and work in God’s name.
So it makes sense that we would read it at this turning point in the liturgical year.
– Points back to birth: “do not be afraid”
– Points back to/wraps up Epiphany: baptism, light
– Points forward to Lent: heading down into the valley, toward suffering
But I don’t want to focus on any of that, so as not to get bogged down in the richness of the text, let’s take the text’s advice: “listen to him.”
The words of God (in the voice and Jesus) tell the story of Jesus.
But they tell our story too:
– We have been adopted to be a child of God too
– Christ guides us through word and the ministry of one another
– In similar ways we are reminded that even when it might seem like we are off track, and we are afraid, there is no need
- Sometimes it is even God who causes our fear…“sometimes when we sense God’s presence and call we fall into fear, and when this happens God doesn’t scold or rebuke or chastise, but instead calls us to get up, to be raised, and to be bound by fear no longer”
– We are touched, personally raised up at our Baptisms and every other day too
– It is almost like this story is a premature Resurrection story, but not of Jesus’ resurrection…but of the disciples…of us.
– And then once we are raised, we are sent out.
God working in our lives can be overwhelming. You might experience it as a engrossing cloud and a booming voice. Or maybe you cannot hear God’s voice for all the other noise in your life.
Theophanies (encounters with God) sometimes cause you to fall on your knees and cover your face, or they might inspire you to want to pitch a tent and stay awhile…ignoring the rest of reality.
Either way, experiencing God in clear ways is a gift, but ultimately does not provide any knowledge or guidance that we can’t get in other ways. For each week in worship, we hear all these same things Jesus/God says to those disciples.
– GATHERING: In the Confession & Forgiveness & Thanksgiving in Baptism we hear God call us be name and claim us as children of God.
– WORD: Through readings, we hear Jesus teachings and guidance, and hopefully are able to listen.
- Through the prayers and creed, we are reassured that there is no need to be afraid of God or of anything because of God.
– MEAL: At the table, we are weekly raised to new life through Christ’s death and resurrection. As we gather in community, and commune with God, we are touched and lifted up.
– SENDING: But we are not permitted to pitch a tent around the altar and stay there forever. We are sent out, equipped with a name, full of wisdom, and raised to new life…surrounded by our fellow disciples.
So this week, I pray that God call, empower, and raise you in ways that you can notice, hear, comprehend, and appreciate.
When you are complacent, you are sent out.
When you are afraid, you are reassured.
When you are down, you are raised up.
When you are in need, someone cares for you in the name of God, so you might do the same for others.
We are not alone in this big scary world. Through God, we are transformed. Amen.
– Called/this is my son
– Guided/listen to him
– Reassured/Do not be afraid
– Sent out
 David Lose, “Dear Working Preacher”