February 27, 2022

Transfiguration Sunday

  • First reading
    • Exodus 34:29-35
  • Psalm
    • Psalm 99
  • Second reading
    • 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
  • Gospel
    • Luke 9:28-36, (37-43a)

The gospel from Luke:
Now Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.

The Macklin Bible — The Transfiguration*
Smirke, Robert, 1752-1845
Delattre, Jean Marie, 1745
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
Nashville, TN

Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.

Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud.

Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.”

Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.

And all were astounded at the greatness of God.

The Macklin Bible is an enormous physical specimen of book art, comprising seven volumes two feet in height and over 130 pounds in weight. It is the apogee of the art of British copper-plate engraving, involving both painters and engravers. These renowned artists often selected scripture texts that featured women, who were the nurturers of religious education for the family in late 18th century England.

Church pastors have struggled to make the content of this week’s gospel lesson relevant. It is about a physical event that involves a cloud. This cloud protects the witnesses – the three disciples of Jesus. The event is important to Peter, as he writes about it in his letters in the Bible. Jesus is transfigured, his clothing turns white, and God declares to the witnesses that Jesus is God’s Son. Pastor Stevensen spoke also on a second theme concerning the taking communion. He concludes his sermon saying it is not after doing good or being known we wish to share communion, but rather having a believing heart.

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