Second Sunday of Lent 2011 Gospel : The Transfiguration: Some Reflections

This Sunday's Gospel reading is on The Transfiguration of Christ that took place on the mountain where they went to pray.( Luke 9: 28-36).

"As he prayed , the aspect of His face was changed and his clothing became brilliant as lightning. Suddenly there were two men there  talking to him; they were Moses and Elijah appearing in glory and they were speaking of his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem. 

A Jesuit monastery on the top of Mt. Tabor locates the possible site of Jesus' transfiguration on this hill in the Jezreel Valley, Israel.

Photo from

We can see Christ in this passage as resurrected God , but do we as Christians embody the transformed Christ we are proclaiming ?? 

Or are we just playing during Lent at manufacturing our own mock halos?

Dr John Stott, an Anglican evangelist who  preached publicly for the final time a few years ago asked this question :

Why is it, you must have asked, as I have, that in many situations our evangelistic efforts are often fraught with failure? ... 

One main reason is that we don't look like the Christ we are proclaiming.”

The most effective preaching comes from those who embody the things they are saying. They are their message. 
Christians need to look like what they are talking about. It is people who communicate primarily, not words or ideas. Authenticity gets across. 
Deep down inside people, what communicates now is basically personal authenticity.'”

“Is Christ-likeness attainable?”

He concluded: “In our own strength it is clearly not attainable but God has given us his Holy Spirit to dwell within us, to change us from within ... God's way to make us like Christ is to fill us with his Spirit.”

This phrase from the Gospel reading sticks with me and  came from the shadow of the clouds covering Peter, John, James and Jesus. "This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to Him"

The Transfiguration shows us the two sides to Jesus, His divinity as Son Of God and the future human suffering he is to face as Son of Man  as he leaves the mountain and sets his eyes resolutely " like flint" on Jerusalem and the cross.

We see our first glimpse of The Cross and the Resurrection.

Along the way to the cross, we will see whether the disciples really do listen to Jesus.
Time and again throughout the Gospels we hear that the disciples had a very difficult time listening to Jesus. Their human condition always gets in the way.
The same thing applies to us. We have a very difficult time listening to the contradiction of the resurrected Christ  and the cross of Christ.

My prayer is  :

Please God let me keep my eyes focused on you and keep listening to you all my life even if you seem lost in the clouds covering me from time to time.

The tale of The Transfiguration from Sufjan Stevens (2004 Album The Seven Swans).The lyrics are below :

Lyrics to The Transfiguration 

When he took the three disciples
to the mountainside to pray,
his countenance was modified, his clothing was aflame.
Two men appeared: Moses and Elijah came;
they were at his side.
The prophecy, the legislation spoke of whenever he would die.

Then there came a word
of what he should accomplish on the day.
Then Peter spoke, to make of them a tabernacle place.
A cloud appeared in glory as an accolade.
They fell on the ground.
A voice arrived, the voice of God,
the face of God, covered in a cloud.

What he said to them,
the voice of God: the most beloved son.
Consider what he says to you, consider what's to come.
The prophecy was put to death,
was put to death, and so will the Son.
And keep your word, disguise the vision till the time has come.

Lost in the cloud, a voice: Have no fear! We draw near!
Lost in the cloud, a sign: Son of man! Turn your ear!
Lost in the cloud, a voice: Lamb of God! We draw near!
Lost in the cloud, a sign: Son of man! Son of God!

1 comment:

claire said...

An interesting meditation, Phil. Thank you.