The Transfiguration has many of the elements of the story of a superhero. There’s an arduous trek up a mountain; a tightly knit company of friends on a “mission” together; the appearance of other-worldly figures in dazzling light; the transformation of the hero into an equally dazzling figure; a command from a powerful voice from another dimension; a determined descent to battle those other powers back home. Many preachers don’t quite know what to do with it. After all, Jesus is not exactly a superhero…is he?
Well, “no.” And “yes.” Embedded in the story of the Transfiguration is the promise of a new kind of life. Both Moses and Elijah, two figures whose passings were mysterious, were believed by many Jews to be God’s precursors of the end times. Because Elijah went bodily into heaven (2 Kings 2:9-12) and Moses’ grave was never found (he was buried by God himself in Deuteronomy 34:4-7), these two men of the faith were thought to be available for God to send back. Now Jesus becomes the divinely chosen precursor of the turn of the age.
Probably the greatest challenge about preaching on Transfiguration Sunday is dealing with the pressure to explain what the Transfiguration means.
Somehow we need to make sense of why the Transfiguration occurred.
Seriously? When has the idea of a brilliantly glowing holy figure ever “made sense,” anyway?
The transfigured Jesus isn’t supposed to be figured out. He’s supposed to be appreciated. We should be drawn to him, as if we were moths. On this day, encourage each other to bask in the warm wonder of his glow.
Your friend &Vicar, Kofe