Sunday, February 7, 2021

Monday prior to Transfiguration Sunday


The theme for the Transfiguration of Our Lord is The Vision Glorious. Peter, James, and John were privileged to go with our Lord onto a mountain and see Him transfigured. That is, they were given a brief glimpse of His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). St Luke tells us that Jesus talked with Moses and Elijah about His departure (Luke 9:31), that is, His impending death, resurrection, and ascension. It is a strange concept for the natural man, his understanding clouded by sin, to see the death of Jesus as something glorious, but it is precisely at the cross that the glory of Christ is made known to us. For it is on account of this work of Christ that Moses, Elijah, and all the saints in heaven have been received into glory. This is also the eternal destiny of all who put their trust in Him and His atoning sacrifice.

Psalm 112:1, 3, 7–9; antiphon, Psalm 112:4—Psalm 112 speaks of the blessedness of the man who fears the LORD. This psalm is a complement to the preceding psalm, which tells of the blessings, physical and spiritual, which God bestows upon us. Those who trust in Him—who fear the LORD—show their gratefulness to Him by their lives, which are conformed to His will. The one who trust in the Lord greatly delights in His commandments.

After the American election of 2016 tore hearts open, Kate McKinnon took to the piano on Saturday Night Live to sing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” She’s a comedic actor, it’s a comedy show, and surely the word “Praise the Lord” has never been sung so earnestly on network late night television. It was a lament — a biblical cry for the Lord’s presence — penned by a great Jewish songwriter who had also just died that week.

Read in a skewed way, Psalm 112 could suggest that the rich are rich because they’re righteous. But read in the context of the whole bible, we know that is not so. Our God has a cross through the heart. And so will we.

There are already clues that things are more complicated than a literal reading of 112 lets on. “Fear of the Lord” is a key to this happiness. This is not reptilian terror. Our culture’s shapers move us with fear through news or marketing.

Only fear of something greater can keep us from fearing something lesser. All fears pale compared to fear of the Lord. Even stranger, this fear is paired with “delight” (Psalm 112:1).[1]

Collect for Psalm 112: Lord Jesus, you are the light shining in darkness for the upright. Teach us to love one another as you love us, that we might bring peace and joy to the world and find the happiness of your home where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.[2]

[2] Collect for Psalm 112,  For All the Saints, a Prayer Book for and by the Church© 1995 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY

Woodcut by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, "The Transfiguration" copyright ©WELS permission is granted for personal and congregational use.

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