Sunday 6 August 2023

About Today Readings

The Transfiguration of the Lord

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14. The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth – Psalm 96(97):1-2, 5-6, 9. 2 Peter 1:16-19. Matthew 17:1-9.

His robe was white as snow

Any way you look at it, the Transfiguration is bizarre. I like to see it as a moment where, facing the gravity and strain of his impending execution, Jesus needs encouragement. His heavenly Father peels back the veneer of reality, lighting up the mountainside in a display of blinding, holy illumination. God sends the most powerful figures of Hebrew history, Moses and Elijah, to speak with Jesus. The bafflement we feel reading this must have been felt more acutely by the disciples. Peter’s response is particularly embarrassing, offering to build shelters for the shining, celestial forms of Hebrew patriarchs and his messianic friend who now, oddly, is glowing like the sun. Shelters? How long does he think they will stay? From a cloud, God speaks, terrifying everyone. ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’ To whom is God speaking here? Not Jesus, or Elijah or Moses, but Peter, James and John, and by extension, us. Through the strangeness, a clear imperative.

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