This weekend we get the Transfiguration readings. We do a version of this every year right before Lent begins. Matthew and Mark have their own versions, so it is a bit different each year. I got tickled this week as I did the readings on this lectionary offering. One place said not to even TRY to explain Paul’s writings (-:
We get the story of Two Transfigurations – the first is Moses, and it sets the scene for Jesus. There are the common denominators that would have led ancient hearers to know that the stories are written to be linked: the mountain, the shiny skin, the fear of the witnesses, and God speaking. The Psalm reminds us that God appears as a cloud on a mountain – again hearkening to this Gospel reading. This is one of those unusual weekends when all of the readings fit together perfectly and interweave stories and illustrations. If you have been an Episcopalian for very long, you have heard sermons on these every year.
This year as we face the beginning of our Lenten journey through to Easter, I would like for us to consider a third Transfiguration story: our own. As Episcopalians our Anglican theology allows us to believe that we are constantly being transfigured – constantly being sanctified – to be the presence of Christ in the world. We believe that we can move closer and closer to holiness. This is not only personally but as a parish.
As we begin the Lenten journey, we are also beginning the ending with Fr Jim. One of the things that will happen over the next year or so will be efforts to learn who St Martin is – what we offer to the greater world that is unique. Just hanging out and being the Episcopal church is not enough anymore. Truthfully it never has been – that’s why Peter and the guys could not just hang out on the top of the mountain – there was work to do. There still is – one of the things we will be called to do is to “Listen.” We will wonder together, question together and listen together.
Between now and Easter, we will each individually be called into the observance of a Holy Lent with the imposition of ashes on Wednesday. Each of us will fast, pray and listen to the Holy Spirit and how she moves in our daily lives. We are going to be called into our own Transfigurations. To that end, I have an assignment for you. It’s a bit scary – but all Transfigurations are – I want you to really pay attention to your Lenten journey this year. I want you to be ready to tell us all about it. My first weekend to preach after Easter will be the third Sunday of Easter. On that weekend, I want to hear your stories of Transfiguration – where you have heard the Holy Spirit speaking to you, either personally or about this community. Your stories will be the sermon that weekend.
It will be a long journey – May we, like Moses, reflect the light of the Glory of God as we are transfigured.