Revised Common Lectionary Reflection, Transfiguration of Our Lord, Year B
February 11, 2024*
Lessons: 2 Kings 2:1-12; Psalm 50:1-6; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Mark 9:2-9
Theme: God’s faithful and generous people still see Jesus today, and we find our own lives transfigured by his mercy, love, and grace.
Key Scriptures: Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Mark 9:7
For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6
When was the last time you saw Jesus? I mean really saw Jesus for who he is—God’s beloved son who embraced in the flesh our skin-and-bones humanity, yet who also is God in divine glory, light, and love?
Okay, so maybe that’s not really a fair question. We can’t see Jesus in the flesh in the same way that Peter, James, John and the other disciples saw him. We don’t get to saunter with Jesus throughout Galilee, healing the sick, casting out demons, eating dinner, and walking on water (or at least trying to). We also don’t spend time locked in an upper room terrified for our lives after having watched Jesus die a horrible death and risk execution ourselves—at least not in North America in this day and time.
Let’s think outside the box for a minute. When was the last time you saw Jesus? Have you seen him in the face of your neighbor half way around the world? In a face that doesn’t look anything like your own? In the face of a fellow congregant when you pass the peace in worship? In the tired face of the cashier ringing up your purchase at the grocery store; you know, the one who still manages to smile with an uncommon radiance? When did you feel the presence of his love enfolding you? Was it while you sat in quiet contemplation of scripture or in silent prayer? Was it in the cool, calm touch of a medical professional bringing healing and hope? Or was it in the arms of a friend as you mourned a loss or suffered great disappointment?
Dear friends, every atom and molecule of creation is infused with the divine spark of God. Every person you encounter is dearly beloved by the same Creator who knew you in your mother’s womb, even if you can’t see that divine spark when they’re honking at you in traffic or appear on the opposite side of the huge chasms we’ve created in this country. The light of Christ shines everywhere—in broad daylight and in the darkest nights of our soul. No darkness can overcome that light, not even our stubborn human willfulness and inability to see.
I take comfort in the fact that Jesus’ three closest disciples were still dazed and confused when his true nature was revealed to them on that mountain. God had to come in and tell them to listen to Jesus and remind them of their rabbi’s true identity. Even so, they still didn’t completely understand the countercultural trajectory of Jesus’ ministry. Yet Jesus never left them and promised to always be there for them in the gift of the Holy Spirit. You and I—all of us—are heirs to that same gift and promise. We are all bathed in the light of Christ, even when we don’t realize it.
This Sunday find as many ways possible to celebrate Jesus in all his glory—Son of God, Divine Light, Savior of the Nations, Alpha and Omega, God incarnate, and beloved child of the Father—sing, pray, praise, and shout Alleluia! for all you’re worth. Then, take a hint from God and really listen. As we head toward Lent, lean in. Spend time in prayer, contemplation, and study. Listen for Jesus. Look for Jesus. You will hear him, and you will see him in so many unexpected, beautiful, ordinary, and extraordinary ways.
This week we reach the mountaintop with Jesus in his ministry. Next week we begin the descent through Lent toward Jerusalem and the cross. We cannot stay in the dazzling light of this moment, or realize exactly who Christ is. No, we must make the hard journey back down into the valley of the shadow of death, hopefully losing something of our sinful self in the process as we return with our whole hearts to the God who loves us enough to prove that not even death can defeat divine love.
Think of how you might visually illustrate this mountaintop moment where we see Jesus for who he really is—eternal light, divine love, God’s own son. Yet we don’t stay in this moment, for we, like the disciples, are called to return to the valley of brokenness and sorrow to confront our mortality and sinfulness on Ash Wednesday. Take heart, be of good courage: Lent does not last forever (only 40 days) before new life, new hope, and endless possibility shatter the darkness.
What does it mean for Jesus to be transfigured? Do the disciples get it? What does it mean for us today, and do we “get it”? Finally, what does it mean for our lives to be transfigured by Jesus’ love, mercy, and grace? Consider incorporating the worship song “Transfigured” by At Average into your time with youth today. Here’s a link to the group’s bandcamp site.
The hymn “I want to walk as a Child of the Light” finishes with the line, “Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus,” recalling 2 Corinthians 4:6. When we ask Jesus to shine in our heart, what does that mean? How does that happen? Invite the children to think of people they think shine with the light of Christ. It may be through parents or grandparents who teach them about Jesus. It may be Sunday school teachers who share God’s love in story and song. It may be adults in the congregation who pray for them and show kindness and love. The truth is that all of us have the light of Christ burning in our hearts. Our job is to fan the flames and make that light shine as brightly as possible by worshiping, learning by studying the Bible, in prayer, in service, by developing friendships in our church family, and by giving to others. Challenge the children to find one way this week to let Christ’s light shine in their hearts so brightly that others can see. Help them brainstorm some possible ways. Finish by singing “This Little Light of Mine.” Be sure the entire congregation raises their “light” (pointer finger) while singing the song. Finish with a simple prayer.
Weekly Stewardship Bulletin Insert
Listening and looking for Jesus in our lives and in the world around us is part of good stewardship. Make time to do so, and you will be nothing short of amazed at what Jesus is up to all around you!
Stewardship at Home
Lent is almost here! Are you ready? Wondering how to prepare your heart and home for Lent? Start by clearing away clutter, emptying out unneeded belongings, clearing your calendar of unnecessary activities and appointments, and making clean space in your home and time in your life to return to the Lord your God with every fiber of your being. Prepare to spend daily time in prayer, scripture reading, listening and looking for Jesus in the world around you, and devoting quality time to the relationships that matter in your life. All of this is good stewardship—of heart, mind, resources, and creation.
Photos: Art in the Christian Tradition, Creative Commons usage license. Thanks!
*This reflection was first published in 2018.
Note: Reprint rights granted to congregations and other church organizations for local, nonprofit use. Just include this note: “Copyright (c) 2018, Rev. Sharron Blezard. Used by Permission.” Other uses, please inquire: email@example.com.