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Year A, Transfiguration Sunday, 2017 – Peak Experience

February 23, 2017 / D2 / Epiphany, Transfiguration

Greetings!! The Transfiguration of the Lord is one of those weird Sundays where the Western mind just cocks its head to the side, furrows its brow, and stares for a while, trying to make sense of what might be called mystical experiences described in the texts. In the OT and Gospel narratives we have talking clouds on top of mountains, people glowing with unearthly light, and long-dead prophets appearing for conversation. In the epistle lesson, we have someone using such an experience as reassurance of his credibility. These sorts of things just don’t happen to “normal” people in “these modern times.” Do they? Regardless, as preachers we have the fun job of making it relevant to those cocked, starring heads. This is one of the reasons we do this show, because sometimes religion and transcendence need more than a verbal bridge.


This week’s texts are:

Exodus 24:12-18 [02:00]

Moses gets a call to come up the holy mountain. He goes up and up and up, and stays and stays. In Word Smart we hear verbal echoes of the creation and other prehistory stories. There are so many repetitions of phrases they are natural cues for some Body Smart motions. Quick – think of a song with mountains in it! If you can’t, we have a list in Music Smart. The Self Smart in us all needs some time for spiritual retreat, time away with God, as Moses was having. When was the last time you took that time?


2 Peter 1:16-21 [08:36]

The author of 2 Peter insists that the experience on the mountaintop was not only legitimate, but a strong case for Jesus’ claim as Messiah. In order to maintain the the urgency of proclamation, he encourages readers to allow this message to illuminate their own lives, shining like a bright light in a dark place. We offer some examples of this in Eye smart. Yet, eyewitness testimony can be problematic which we discuss in Math smart. The author also encourages the faithful to hold onto this illuminating trust until Jesus’ dawning at his return. We have some thoughts about dawn in Nature smart. And finally in People smart, we wonder if folks in your congregation have ever been called on to offer eyewitness testimony – or testimony about Jesus.  


Matthew 17:1-9 [18:24]

As David says in the introduction, what are we to do with this story? Glad you asked! Beginning in Eye smart, think about how dazzlingly bright Jesus’ appearance was for the disciples and then ask your congregation to express it in art or craft. Don’t just talk about it – do it! We have referenced Dr. James Loder in the past, but his work on transformation is entirely appropriate here in Math smart. The passage says that Peter, James, and John cowered in fear at the change in Jesus and the sudden appearance of Moses and Elijah; we discuss some of the fear response in Body smart. Sticking with the idea that this experience is difficult to tell, we suggest using Music smart to express it in poetry or song. And David has written a wonderful readers theater script for People smart. Let us know how this goes if you try it! (Also, how to get hold of a fog machine, because how cool would that be?)


Image Credit: Mountain Scenery from

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