This Sunday we observe Jesus’ Transfiguration. “Trans” is a Latin verb meaning “to cross from one side to the other” as one does in becoming transgender. Next week, another “trans” takes place when the indulgence and noisy festivities of Mardi Gras ends on Fat Tuesday; and the solemnity of Lent begins Ash Wednesday.
However, this “trans” (crossing from one side to the other) really begins each year with observing Jesus’ transfiguration as His radiant glory was briefly revealed in His physical presence. Until then it had been hiding from human view behind the weakness of human flesh. But on the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus’ shining glory and majesty were displayed in a visible form along with appearances of Moses and Elijah to Peter, James and John.
Come to worship this Sunday if you want to know what the presence of Moses and Elijah represented on this occasion. Nonetheless, these 3 disciples were transfixed by what they saw and wanted to remain on the mountain. Peter suggested they build tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah and all of them just stay up on the mountain.
His was a common reaction when we experience a positive life changing event; but Peter’s response showed he missed the point of being a witness to Jesus’ Transfiguration. God allowed them to be witnesses of this marvelous event so they would experience a “transformation” in their own lives; not a “transfixion” (becoming motionless in amazement, awe or even terror.)
Jesus helped these disciples understand what they had witnessed, and it strengthened their faith over the course of the rest of their lives. Our hope is observing Jesus’ Transfiguration annually prior the “trans” from Mardi Gras to Lent will do the same for us as we seek to deepen our relationship with God during Lent.
Join us this Sunday as we begin to “trans” from Epiphany to Lent. My sermon will be “Transfiguration: A Call to Transformation, Not Transfixion” based on “Exodus 24:12-18” and “Matthew 17:1-9”.