This Week's Focus


"Transfigurations" A Reflection for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B


Dear Friends,

Well, this is more like it. Brilliant lights… shining garments… a voice from the clouds… even Moses and Elijah on hand… this is what the coming of the Messiah was meant to be. No wonder Peter is ready to set up shop right on top of the mountain. Let’s get some tents up here and start the kingdom right now.

Poor practical Peter, what else was he to think? In the face of the divine, his reaction is so very human. Jesus has come to redeem the world and build God’s heavenly kingdom. But all Peter can think about are the trappings of an earthly kingdom. Jesus is operating on a completely different… infinitely elevated… plane. While Peter is bound by the limits of his expectations, his experience, his senses.

Once again, Peter is our “every man.” He stands in for all of us in our trivial, human frailty before the face of God. How like us he is.

How would we behave before the transfigured glory of Jesus? It’s not a hypothetical question. In our final hour, it is a certainty that awaits us all. Surely, we’ll be in awe. We may be euphoric. We may be frightened. We’ll probably be both. But one thing we won’t be is confused.

After a lifetime of Christian instruction and worship, we will finally, fully understand the message. By the grace of God, we’ll know the answers. All will be made plain. We will see the face of God. And since that rendezvous is certain, let’s take the little time we have here to get ready for it. Better to meet with an intimate friend than confront a neglected stranger.

While Peter is a prime, first-hand witness to the wonders of Jesus, even for him the good news is just beginning to unravel. Where is this going? Where will it end? And then Jesus spoils the party. He tells Peter, James, and John to keep what they saw a secret: until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

If you think they were confused before, what’s this all about? After witnessing Christ’s glorious Transfiguration, they get hit with the message that he is facing death.

Once again we have the advantage of perspective. We have been steeped in scripture. We know that Jesus will climb another mountain. And this time he will carry a cross.

Over and over we have learned of the sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection of Jesus. We know that he is the love of God made flesh, here to take us home to the Father. But what have we done with that good news? Is it filed away somewhere for death-bed referral? Or do we live it? Does it shape our choices? Does it guide our decisions every day? Are the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus concrete, immediate imperatives that impact our lives? Or are they fabled abstractions… dusted off and taken out to lend texture to traditional holiday celebrations?

That is the challenge of the Transfiguration… to live transfigured lives, right here, right now… with and in the love of Christ. In this gospel, Jesus gives a preview of coming attractions both for the apostles and for us. It is a brief peek into the awesome power he commanded… a power that he was prepared to set aside in sacrifice for us. He, who stood clothed in brilliant light in the company of Moses and Elijah, would soon lay himself down… beaten, naked and alone… for our salvation.

In the words of the Father: Listen to him. In Jesus, we are saved. We are transfigured. Follow him to glory. God loves you no less than Moses or Elijah. He values you as a disciple no less than Peter, James, and John.  Make loving, praising, and thanking him the focal point of your day. And you will be transfigured, too.

God love you!


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David Sellery · David F. Sellery · 213 Council Gap Ct · Cary, NC 27513 · USA