Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) Lectionary Reflection All Years, The Transfiguration (August 6)

Exodus 24: 12-18 The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction." So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. To the elders he had said, "Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them."

Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

Reflection on Exodus 24: 12-18 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 Hebrew Scipture (Old Testament) Reading together with the Gospel Reading. Helens's reflection for both readings is identical.

To Reflections on other Readings for this Feast Day:
Old Testament Exodus 24: 12-18
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Psalm 99
New Testament 2 Peter 1:13-21
Gospel Luke 9: 28-36

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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