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The Art of Worship: Transfiguration Sunday

Transfiguration Sunday: February 27, 2022

Transfiguration Sunday, is the last Sunday of Ordinary time and the altar cloths are transformed from green to a bright white. It is a celebration of the text in Matthew 17:1–8, Mark 9:2–8, and Luke 9:28–36. It is worth a moment of time to take a look at the three scriptures to be mindful of the season.

As a kid I knew when God was working because in a moment, things were different. Like the time I was in Vacation Bible School and felt the Holy Spirit flow through me while singing Onward Christian Soldiers. I was singing in my most beautiful voice the best I knew how for God. When I felt the Holy Spirit, I knew that is what it was like in Heaven and it transformed my life.

Back to the scriptures …The mountaintop transfiguration of Jesus is a strange tale.  For the first time, Jesus had shared with his followers that he would be rejected, suffer and die at the hands of his enemies. Instead of promising comfort and easy living, Jesus promises the way of the cross for himself and any who would follow him. Within a week, his three closest disciples witness Jesus transformed into a heavenly being, with two pillars of Jewish faith standing beside him. Moses (representing Torah) and Elijah (representing the prophets) show up and start talking to Jesus. Peter, James, and John (who have probably peed their pants from fear at this point), suggest setting up tents for these three heavenly beings, maybe as a way to memorialize what is happening, or somehow hold onto the glory of the moment. The cloud of the Holy Spirit overshadows everyone, and God tells them to listen to the Beloved Son…and then it’s over.  You imagine the whole thing to have happened in the span of three or four minutes that felt like an eternity.

“This is my Son,” says the voice of God.  This one.  The Beloved; whose glory is truly discovered in the cross. The Beloved; who is able to do the impossible…LISTEN to him!

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