The Adventurous Lectionary – Transfiguration Sunday

Lectionary Reflections for Transfiguration Sunday – February 10, 2013

Exodus 34:29-35; Psalm 99; 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2; Luke 4: 28-43

Transfiguration Sunday is a day for poetry, music, dance, delight, strobe lights, light shows, and DVDs and You Tube. Bring your iPads to share. Dazzling whiteness, glory, radiance, shining, brightness. “The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out like shining from shook foil; it gathers to a greatness like the ooze of oil Crushed.” (Gerard Manley Hopkins) Nature is not spent, the energy of the big bang surges through us, we are stardust, energetic and lively.

Let’s not think small on Transfiguration Sunday. Let’s expect big things from God and in our church! This is a holistic celebration of cells and souls, of the dynamic interdependence that energizes our lives. The Force is with you. God is with you. You are the light of the world; let your light shine.

Moses encountered God and his face shined. It was too much to bear, the reflected glory of God, so the leader had to hide his face. He hid his light under a bushel basket so the dim consciousness of his fellow citizens could tolerate it! Do we hide our light? Do we focus on small things just so our neighbors won’t notice, envy, or critique us?

Jesus goes up onto a mountain and his face shines – he glows with divinity. He shines in the living trinity of himself, Elijah, and Moses. Light bearers and light sharers. In God’s light, we see light, the Psalmist proclaims, knowing that the light shines in every darkness and brings forth life in the darkness of moist soil and welcoming womb, gentle sleep and revealing dreams.

We need churches that glow – not with the dead words of doctrine and tired unfeeling rituals – but vibrant messages and massages, energetic hymns and touches, fully alive spiritual leaders and dancing children. Transfiguration Sunday tells us that to face the crosses and crippling diseases of this world – the path to Jerusalem and a demon possessed [epileptic] boy – we must live the light of the mountaintop everywhere, seeing with a God’s eye view and touching with a God-filled energy.

Philip Newell introduced the idea of “glow flow” to me a number of years ago. I don’t know where Philip got the initial image but as I roamed the internet, I “chanced upon” – or was it synchronicity – this poem by Peter S. Quinn. It may not be the poem that inspired Philip but it inspires me on this Transfiguration Mountain here where live in Washington DC.

Flow winds of time
Whilst the night takes a spin
Stars are falling in deep prime
As the darkness comes in
Feelings like river going
All is within dream reach
Night sky is now glowing
In its twinkling glow bleach

Flow on to a daybreak’s light
Reach the awaken call
In dreams blue and height
As the night must fall
Silvery dress of the day
Awaken in its true reality
Every dream’s now on its way
To become once more free

Flow to the sounds I heard
Whispers in the deep dark
Like ravens of a winged bird
Shadowed dancing embark
Life is like merry-go -round
Deep into their whole make
Until the light’s again found
As new cock-crows’ awake

Now is the night in its dancing
Humming a breeze melody
Dreams of bedroom romancing
For a new tomorrow to be

God knows, there’s healing to be done, and quickly. But, healing is for abundant life and celebration not just release and relief. Transfiguration Sunday says “take off your sad rags,” “ditch the frown and the furrowed brow,” “fire the thought police and arbiters of orthodoxy,” “give the inner police officer the light off,” and invite in imaginative “lovers, lunatics, and poets” to give us visions of new selves and new heavens and earths. God knows, we need them if we are to be God’s partners in transfiguring ourselves and the world. (Delight in some good theology with my Emerging Process: Adventurous Theology for a Missional Church and sample some of Peter S. Quinn’s poetry at an ebook he’s created: http://www.poemhunter.com/i/ebooks/pdf/peter_s_quinn_2006_11.pdf)

About Bruce Epperly

Bruce Epperly is a theologian, spiritual guide, and Pastor of South Congregational United Church of Christ, Centerville (Cape Cod), Massachusetts. He is the author of twenty five books, including Process Theology: A Guide to the Perplexed, Philippians: An Interactive Bible Study,The Center is Everywhere: Celtic Spirituality for the Postmodern Age, and Emerging Process: Adventurous Theology for a Missional Church. He also writes regularly for the Process and Faith lectionary. He has served as chaplain, professor, and administrator at Georgetown University, Lancaster Theological Seminary, Wesley School of Theology, and Claremont School of Theology. He may be reached at drbruceepperly@aol.com for lectures, workshops, and retreats. His latest book is Healing Marks: Healing and Spirituality in Mark’s Gospel (Energion).


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