Transfiguration Sunday, Last Sunday before Lent
March 6, 2011: Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 2 or Psalm 99;2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9
Exodus 24:12-18: “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.’ 13So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14To the elders he had said, ‘Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.’
15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. 17Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.”
Matthew 17:1-9: “Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, ‘Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Transfiguration Sunday Comment: I lead a Biblical Study, which meets on Wednesday nights at our church. We study Scriptural texts and discuss the weekly reading from the book, “Keeping the Sabbath Wholly.” I believe the author Marva J. Dawn drives home the point that setting aside a day, called Sabbath has benefits for us that go beyond our wildest dreams.
God thought it important enough to set the example. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. Genesis 2:3 The word hallowed means ‘separated from’ and describes Sabbath as different from the six other days of the week. Consider that one day of Sabbath rest balances six days of work. How completely holy is that!
We live in a 24 hour, seven-day-a week functioning society. To be still is considered unproductive and therefore worthless. Those who recognize the need for rest and attempt to be still are considered lazy. But if we read both texts again a question cries out: What are we missing?
On this last Sunday of Epiphany, the traditional Christian Sabbath may God shine a new brilliance on your day of rest.
©March 3, 2011