Sunday, February 11, 2024

A Short Sunday Sermon - Transfigured


If you follow the new-fangled ABC, tripartite Lectionary you'll have heard St. Mark's account of Our Lord's transfiguration this morning. Here:

And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.

And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.


Next we see Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah, he is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, and Peter speaks out, "Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias."

It seems a strange thing to say and Mark admits as much, "For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid." But hold on. Some days earlier Peter had made his confession, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And now, before his eyes, Christ was transfigured; the Messianic age had arrived with supernatural glory and power. What were God's people to do? The Psalmist tells us, exalt "in the tents of the righteous."

Again, look to the Feast of Tabernacles, during which faithful Jews set up tents in memory of their journey in the Exodus wilderness, all the while looking forward to the time God would tabernacle with men in the person of the Messiah. It must have seemed to Peter that the time had come, there was Christ, transfigured, the Majestic Glory. 

Seen in this light, Peter's outburst makes a kind of sense, but no, the time had not yet come. Return to Moses and Elijah, conversing with Jesus, what did they talk about? St. Luke tells us, of our Lord's "imminent departure" in Jerusalem, of his exodus through the Red Sea of the Passion and Cross to the promised land, the glory of the Resurrection.

Our Lord's transfiguration signifies and foreshadows this, but the time had not yet come, first the Cross. Accordingly, Jesus does not answer Peter but the Father does, the cloud of glory descends upon Tabor and the Father speaks, "This is my beloved Son, listen to him." And so we must, he is the living Law, the Torah Incarnate.

Peter, in his Epistle, is adamant that this happened, "we do not follow cunningly devised myths" but beheld the Majestic Glory on the holy mountain. The vision was real and it's real for us, we too are invited to climb the mountain.

For Peter, James and John the ascent was physical. For us it's mostly spiritual, an ascent which begins in the foothills of humility and repentance, blessed are the poor in spirit and those who mourn, and climbs upwards through righteousness and its enactment, mercy, to purity of heart and the vision of God.

What do we see there? Christ, who shone in the darkness from the beginning, the light of the world in whom there is no darkness at all, who was light on Tabor. Seeing Him, we too become light and will shine like the sun in the kingdom of heaven.

God give us grace to climb the mountain,



drjim said...

Thank you, Parson. Your Sermonettes are both comforting nourishing.

Howard Brewi said...

Not sure what lectionary but we had the healing of the leper gospel! Roman Catholic diocese of Anchorage / Juneau Alaska but the same gospel for this date showed up on the Our Lady of Lourdes site on Facebook that I read!

Anonymous said...

Amen, LSP, amen.


Paul M said...

Needed a Sermon today...this was excellent. Much appreciated for the Truth reminder.