Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Readings for Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hello Everyone,
Grace and Peace in Jesus Christ,

Did you watch the Super Bowl this past Sunday? What a strange game. One side dominates the other through the first half. Then a high powered half time show by BeyoncĂ©. The second half begins and the lights go out. Once the lights were restored, the other team makes a valiant comeback only to lose. Cheryl and I watched until the blackout and then switched to “Downton Abbey”, her favorite show. When we finally returned to the Super Bowl, it had somehow transformed itself into an interesting game.

I mention this because this coming Sunday is “Transfiguration Sunday”. Does “transformation” have anything to do with “transfiguration”? I looked up the word “transfigure” at dictionary.com and the first definition includes the word “transform”.

Our readings this week center on the Transfiguration of Jesus.

Exodus 34:29-35 – This story follows Moses’ second trip up Mt. Sinai to received the tablets of the Law. (Moses had smashed the first tablets when he discovered the Israelites worshipping the calf idol.) When he comes down from the mountain, Moses was unaware that his face had a brilliant shine to it. (If you check out the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible you will read that Moses’ face was “horned” which is another translation of the Hebrew word that also means “ray of light”. This reading led several Middle Ages artists to depict Moses with horns. See HERE and HERE.) Encounters with God leave a person changed. Has your encounter with God, Jesus, and the Spirit given your life a shine?

Psalm 99 – The Psalmist praises God and God’s justice, equity, and righteousness. The Psalmist seems to also say, though not explicitly, that since God spoke to, listened to, and forgave Moses, Aaron, and Samuel, God is willing to listen to us.

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2 – While Paul uses the Exodus text for his discussion in this reading we need to be careful when reading Exodus not to read it only through Paul’s understanding. He is using a familiar story to highlight a problem in his day. With the coming of Jesus Christ, a new understanding of the Law is in order. Those who don’t know Jesus see and understand the law as if a veil was over their minds and hearts. With Jesus, that veil is removed and we can see clearly the glory of God in Jesus. This is the new hope into which we live which transforms our lives (we are transfigured?) into the image of Christ.

Luke 9:28-36 (37-43) – The disciples went over the mountain to see what they could see. And what did they see? Jesus turned brilliantly white, Moses, and Elijah. And what did they hear? God. And what did they do? Well, Peter made a bit of a fool of himself, wanting to build tabernacles for the three. And, in the optional reading, they disciples could not heal a boy with a demon (epilepsy?). So, what is a good transfiguration for? In all three of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), this is the turning point of the story. From this point on, Jesus is bound for Jerusalem where he will be arrested, tried and convicted, sentenced, and crucified. This is also the reason that the story of the transfiguration is read on the last Sunday of Epiphany. We will begin Lent next Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, and begin our Lenten journey to the cross with Jesus.

Have a great week serving the Lord who is greatly to be praised!

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor
Peace United Church, Long Prairie
Grey Eagle UMC, Grey Eagle

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