It seems like a better idea than getting upset that not everybody calls the second Sunday in Lent “Transfiguration Sunday.”
Or that some folks read this part of the Gospel on a different Sunday. Or that we had a different second Sunday Gospel reading last year. Or that our Feast of the Transfiguration is August 6 this year. And is a Monday.
Occasions for angst abound. I’d rather look at what today’s Gospel says and what’s been said about it. Then think for a bit and see what happens.
Public readings of Sacred Scripture predate Christianity by centuries. Like Ezra’s readings and explanations. That’s in Nehemiah 8.
We started doing the current three year cycle somewhere along the line. And that’s another topic, for another day.
One more thing before I get going. Matthew says the Transfiguration happened on a mountain, but doesn’t say which one.
I figure if saying which mountain was an important detail, it’d have been recorded.
That hasn’t kept folks from thinking about which particular mountain Matthew meant. Mounts Tabor and Hermon were early favorites. Or maybe it’s the Horns of Hattin, Gebel Germaq, El-Ahmar, Mount Nebo, or some other place.
Or maybe it’s no particular mountain, or the Apostles made the whole thing up.
That doesn’t seem likely.
Fashionable, at any rate, in some circles.
Or maybe Jesus was a charismatic faith healer who started believing his own spiel.
It’s reasonable, in a ‘good enough for a story’ sense. But doesn’t explain why folks like Peter and others who knew Jesus preferred death to changing what they said.
Folks saying ‘I’m Jesus’ aren’t as common as wannabe prophets with End Times Bible prophecies, but they happen. The claimants aren’t all alike.
Jones Very was a studious and eccentric poet. He may also be an example of why first cousins shouldn’t have kids. Francis Herman Pencovic called himself Krishna Venta, had his followers do good works, lost a child support suit, and got killed.
And that’s yet another topic.
I figure the Transfiguration happened. Not knowing exactly what mountain it happened on doesn’t bother me. I’ve talked about ‘need to know’ before. Mostly in the ‘coming End Times’ context. (August 20, 2017)
We also don’t know much about Rhoda. The excitable maid gets one mention, in Acts 12:13–15. Come to think of it, we don’t know exactly how long Peter kept knocking at the door, waiting for someone to open it.
That wasn’t what I as talking about, though. Let’s see. The Transfiguration. Mountains. Speculations. A 1970s sitcom. Peter. Right.
“After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,
“and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
“Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.
“Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, ‘Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’
“He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
“Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.’
“Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.
“As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
“So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.”
“Dazzling white” reminds me of laundry detergent commercials. I’m pretty sure, though, that this isn’t some sort of prophecy about 20th century broadcast marketing.
I’ve run into speculation that the Transfiguration wasn’t a miracle. Not in the usual sense. (August 13, 2017)
I won’t insist on this, but maybe the Transfiguration was a moment when the our Lord’s nature wasn’t toned down all the way. If that’s so, it’s when a miracle wasn’t happening.
And God is one.
I don’t understand how that works. Not on an operational level.
I think we stand a far better chance of reverse-engineering this reality’s source code than figuring out how the Almighty is one God and three Persons.
“…the whole Trinity appears—the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, the Holy Ghost in the bright cloud…”
(“Summa Theologica,” Thomas Aquinas, III, 45, 4)
On the whole, I’d prefer living my life without needing a visible reminder that God is real, present, and paying attention. ‘Burning bush’ and ‘plagues of Egypt’ events make good cinematic spectacle. Up close and personal? That’s another matter.
“Listen to him” strikes me as good advice:
“While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’
“When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.
“But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Rise, and do not be afraid.’
“And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.”
Health issues being what they are, I’d reasonably wonder if my blood sugar levels needed attention. I’ve learned that noticing my emotions makes sense. Trusting them doesn’t. (October 8, 2017; July 2, 2017)
I’ll have all eternity, I hope and trust, to bask in God’s glory. Right now, there’s work to do.
Part of it, a big part, is passing along the best news humanity’s ever had.
I accepted God’s offer. What you decide is up to you.
I like being part of God’s family. It’s not the ‘king’s kid’ or ‘prosperity Gospel’ goofiness that keeps resurfacing. That’s yet again another topic.
That’s what I should do. What actually happens is another matter, far too often. But it’s still a good idea.
I’m not loving each neighbor if I see a neighbor in trouble and do nothing. Or ignore someone’s need.
Saying that is simple. Applying those principles isn’t. Neither is cobbling together something that’ll work long enough be be worthwhile.
I don’t expect to be around when what we’re doing today ‘pays off.’ Humanity has an enormous backlog of injustices and unresolved issues.
I see that as a good reason to keep seeking justice and practicing mercy.
- “Celebrating Ever Since”
(December 25, 2017)
- “Bah! Humbug?”
(December 24, 2017)
- “Raving Politics”
(September 17, 2017)
- “Still Rejoicing”
(July 2, 2017)
- “The Eighth Day: Two Millennia and Counting”
(April 16, 2017)