Monday, February 28, 2011

Time in the Word - Transfiguration

Collects for Transfiguration: O God, in the glorious transfiguration of Your beloved Son You confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the testimony of Moses and Elijah. In the voice that came from the bright cloud You wonderfully foreshowed our adoption by grace. Mercifully make us co-heirs with the King in His glory and bring us to the fullness of our inheritance in heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives sand reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses Your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment while and glistening; Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in His beauty; who with You, O Father and You, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Almighty God, on the mountain you showed your glory in the Transfiguration of your Son. Give us the vision to see beyond the turmoil of our world and to behold the King in all His glory.

Collect for Psalm 2: Lord God, You gave the peoples of the world to be in inheritance of Your Son: You crowned Him as king of Zion, Your holy city, and gave Him Your Church as His bride. As He proclaims the way of Your eternal kingdom, may we serve Him faithfully, and so know the royal power of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The Epiphany season draws to its conclusion with the Transfiguration of our Lord. The Transfiguration was Jesus’ experience with God, not the first nor the last, but it was an experience so intense that the glory of God transfigured Him into the brightness of the sun.

The Transfiguration marks the apex of the Epiphany triangle. Through the season we have witnessed the glory of God manifested in Jesus, but today God’s full glory is reflected in Jesus. Jesus’ glory is shown by the brightness of His physical appearance, the appearance of Moses and Elijah, and the presence of the Father evidenced by cloud and voice. Since Jesus has come to the full possession of God’s glory, He is prepared to fulfill His mission as Messiah by going to Jerusalem to the cross. Because of this, the Transfiguration is a preparation for our Lenten pilgrimage to suffer and die with Jesus. The importance of this Transfiguration experience led the church to make the Transfiguration a festival of the church. The liturgical color changes to white, to express the joy and celebration of the event. So, yes, today is a day for feasting, yet ours is deeper, more then the world can understand. We rejoice in God our Savior.

Monday, 28 February 2011Psalm 99:1-5; antiphon, Psalm 99:9.—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy! See also vs. 5 God’s royal footstool. When God sits on His heavenly throne His earth throne is His footstool.

Tuesday, 01, March 2011Psalm 2:6-12 — The Psalm appointed for this coming Sunday the key verse is verse 7b, “You are my son, today I have begotten you.” The voice in this appointed Psalm refers to God’s voice. The Lord’s anointed proclaims the Lord’s coronation decree. For a New Testament application to Jesus’ resurrection see Acts 13:33; to His superiority over angels see Hebrews 1:5. To His appointment as high priest see Hebrews 5:5.

Wednesday, 02, March 2011Exodus 24:8-18 - The Old Testament lesson an experience with God reveals His glory as He appears to Moses on Mt. Sinai, but it was related to the Law, not the gospel of the Son. The significance of a mountain. A mountain is generally the site of a religious experience. It was, at least, for Moses, Elijah, Abraham, and Jesus. There is a symbolism to a mountain. It is high, above the valley of the mundane. It is a solitary place away from people. It is a silent sight where God’s voice can be heard without the distractions and confusion of human voices. A mountain also speaks of stability, permanence, and strength.

Thursday, 04, March 2011- 2 Peter 1:16-21- In our Epistle lesson disciples testify to the reality of Jesus’ experience with God. The disciples witnessed Jesus’ glorious transfiguration. Our lesson gives testimony of the disciples concerning the reality of that experience. Is the Transfiguration a legend of the early church or an historical reality? This account in 2 Peter assures us that it can be accepted as hard fact, the witness of eyewitnesses.

The problem lies in the interpretation of the text which claims that 2 Peter was probably the last book of the New Testament to be written and this was not written by Peter. Can we believe one who says he was an eyewitness when he was not? If the writer received the witness from Peter, could he not say that he also saw the Transfiguration through the eyes of Peter? Can’t the preacher 21 centuries later say the same when he repeats the witness of the apostle? The authority of the church today is the authorities of the apostle. Were you there at the Transfiguration as you were at the cross? It indicates that the Transfiguration need not be only an historical event, but an existential experience today for us.

Friday, 05, March 2011Matthew 17:1-9- In the Gospel lesson an experience with God is transforming as Jesus is transfigured before three of His disciples. The Transfiguration is a worship experience. The Transfiguration is an experience that blows the mind. Many questions go unanswered. How could the holy presence of God come into a human frame? How do you explain the exceeding brightness of the physical Jesus? How could Moses and Elijah appear in bodily form? Does God come in a cloud and does God have a real voice? Perhaps our only reaction and answer is worship. Like Peter, we do not know what to say. Like the disciples, we are overcome with awe and adoration. Jesus and his three disciples go up to pray and worship and the experience results in worship of Christ.

Before the cross, Resurrection, and Ascension, we get a glimpse of the inner, true nature of the Son of God. Until this time we saw God’s glory manifested in Jesus as the Wise Men saw in him a king, in John the Baptist’s confession of Jesus as Messiah, and in the miracles of Jesus. Now we see directly the divine nature of Jesus. This brings us to the uniqueness of Jesus — “They saw no one but Jesus only.” In the light of Jesus’s being the only Son of God, then, we must confront the pluralism of our day. In the movie O God! John Denver asks George Burns (who plays the part of God), whether Jesus was his son. “God” answers, “Jesus is my son, Mohammed is my son, Buddha is my son, and Confuscius is my son.”

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY

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