Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) Lectionary Reflection All Years, The Transfiguration, Gospel Reading

Luke 9: 28-36 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.) While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.

Reflection on Luke 9: 28-36 by the Rev Dcn Helen Hanten

When Moses went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone with the law and the commandments, God spoke from a cloud and appeared like a devouring fire. When Jesus and his three closest disciples climbed a mountain, the three suddenly saw Jesus differently dazzling and God's voice came from a cloud.

Mountain tops are places we can see the farthest. We can sometimes see in all directions. We see over the top of things nearby and look to a horizon which is farther away than we see from the ground. This describes a good place for a search for the divine. We need to be able to see more than our own routine of places to be and things to see. We need to be dazzled by the light of some new understanding, a new way to envision who, what and where God is. We listen, in prayer, for God to speak.

But even there, in these accounts, God speaks from a cloud. Clouds keep us from seeing clearly. Fog, a cloud on the ground, can keep us from seeing much of anything. Flying above clouds prevents us from seeing the earth beneath us. Reality is obscured. But the cloud, as a metaphor for that which obscures our understanding of God, also tells us that it is in ordinary things of creation that we encounter the presence of the Creator. Those times that we feel God's presence dazzling us, God's voice may be heard in the gifts of creation.

NOTE: This reflection ties the Gospel Reading together with the Hebrew Scipture (Old Testament) Reading. Helens's reflection for both readings is identical.

To Reflections on other Readings for this Feast Day:
Old Testament Exodus 24: 12-18
Psalm 99
New Testament 2 Peter 1:13-21
Gospel Luke 9:28-36
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The Rev Dcn Helen Hanten is a retired deacon and an active member of St. Andrew's by the Lake Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN. She originally wrote this reflection in 2002. Helen and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Helen Hanten or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
MEESC Holy Trinity Church Box 65 Elk River, MN 55330-0065 USA

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