Ninth Sunday after Trinity

NINTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

Proper 14

Readings:

The Church celebrated The Transfiguration on 6th August, so today there is a choice of readings to follow:

 

Proper 14                                                                  The Transfiguration of Our Lord 

                                                                

1 Kings 19:9-18                                                               Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

Psalm 85                                                                         Psalm 97

Romans 10:5-15                                                             2 Peter 1:16-19       

Matthew 14:22-33                                                           Luke 9:28-36

 

 

Collects:

Proper 14

Almighty God,

who sent your Holy Spirit

to be the life and light of your Church:

open our hearts to the riches of your grace,

that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit

in love and joy and peace;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

 

The Transfiguration of Our Lord

Father in heaven,

whose Son Jesus Christ was wonderfully transfigured

before chosen witnesses upon the holy mountain,

and spoke of the exodus he would accomplish at Jerusalem:

give us strength to hear his voice and bear our cross

that in the world to come we may see him as he is;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

 

 

Some Thoughts and Reflections

on The Transfiguration

 

 

 

 

We read today the account of The Transfiguration according to Luke. (It can also be found Mark 9:2-8 and Matthew 17:1-8)

 

What do we hear?

 

As ever, there are layers of meaning - theology, teaching, spirituality –

all there, waiting to be explored

 

Prayer

 

Jesus and three of his disciples, Peter, John and James went up on the mountain to pray.

 

The going up on to the mountain carries the idea of the mountain top being nearer to heaven and so closer to God – it also calls to mind Moses and his encounters with God.

 

There is then the sense of prayer as a meeting and a communing with God.

 

The dictionary definition of ‘communing’ is

 

‘to get very close to someone by exchanging feelings and thoughts’.

 

I wonder, too, if there is something here about journeying to God in the idea of climbing up the mountain.

 

And, of course, there is the transformation/transfiguration that attends this prayer of Jesus.

 

What might this tell us about prayer?

 

When, what, how do we pray?

 

 

 

 

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Theology

 

Suddenly, Peter, John and James saw two men talking to Jesus – Moses and Elijah.

 

So, if we were not already making the link here between Jesus on the mountain and Moses encountering God and receiving the ten commandments, engraved on tablets of stone, it is now made explicit. Moses, the great hero and lawgiver is there. And Elijah? Elijah is the herald of the Messiah.

And, then, after the voice has spoken from the cloud, Jesus is found to be alone.

 

So, we are to understand, Jesus is the Messiah, the chosen One of God.

Jesus is a prophet greater even than Moses and his teaching will take us beyond the ‘letter of the law’ – “Listen to him”!

 

But there is more, for we are told that Moses and Elijah are talking to Jesus about his departure, or exodus.

 

The word ‘exodus’ and we are reminded of Moses again.

 

Moses accomplished the Exodus, the departure of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the promised land, by crossing the waters of the Red Sea.

 

So, we are to understand, Jesus, the greater prophet, is about to accomplish a greater exodus than Moses.

 

Jesus will lead his people to a far greater freedom from slavery by crossing the deeper waters of death itself. But this is yet to come in the gospel that Luke is telling us.

 

For the time being, we see that the three disciples are witnesses to this amazing revelatory experience.

 

 

 

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Our Experience

 

We are told, by Luke, that Peter, John and James were ‘weighed down with sleep’.

(These same three were also, weighed down with sleep in the Gethsemene garden.)

 

One way to try and manage this is to ‘domesticate’ the experience, as we see when we are told that Peter, not knowing what he was saying, wanted to make three dwellings for Jesus, Moses and Elijah.

 

Another way to try and manage this is to keep talking about it – to keep telling people over and over about what happened.

 

But we are told, by Luke, that Peter, John and James kept silent.

 

 

 

 

There is something about powerful, transformative experiences, both highs and lows, that can be overwhelming - - difficult to talk about, share, or even to understand fully ourselves.

 

We might feel lonely and confused, or out of step with our peers

 

There is knowledge that can seem too much for us to bear

 

With privilege comes freedom of choice and responsibility

 

It might, at least for a time, feel safer to be asleep, rather than awake; enslaved, rather than free…

 

But the story does not finish there – Peter, John and James returned from the mountain with Jesus and told no-one, in those days, what they had seen.

 

Wait on the story – your story – and never deny your own experience.

 

 

 

For that one moment, ‘in and out of time’,
On that one mountain where all moments meet,
The daily veil that covers the sublime
In darkling glass fell dazzled at his feet.
There were no angels full of eyes and wings
Just living glory full of truth and grace.
The Love that dances at the heart of things
Shone out upon us from a human face
And to that light the light in us leaped up,
We felt it quicken somewhere deep within,
A sudden blaze of long-extinguished hope
Trembled and tingled through the tender skin.
Nor can this blackened sky, this darkened scar
Eclipse that glimpse of how things really are.

                                                             Malcolm Guite

 

 

THE PEACE

The deep peace of God be in your hearts and minds,

in your actions and in your life,

and the peace of God be always with you.  Amen.

 

 

THE BLESSING

The Lord open your eyes to his presence;

surround you with his great love,

fill your days with his glory;

and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephanie Sokolowski            9/8/20

 

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