Today we celebrate the event of the Transfiguration—an event
of central importance in Jesus’ life, as well as the lives of
his three intimate companions. The event looks backward and
forward, focusing our attention on the past, on earlier events in
the life of Jesus and, indeed, on the central...
Christ, whose glory fills the skies, Christ, the true, the only light. . . . More and more thyself display, shining to the perfect day. Amen. (“Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies,” UMH, no. 173)
In deep deference and careful obedience, Moses enters the zone of God’s glory, which certifies Moses’ authority. Psalm 99 praises the kingship of Yahweh, while bringing to mind the human agents of God’s rule who facilitate Yahweh’s conversation with the people. The Gospel lesson, like Exodus 24, characterizes what is not fully seen or clearly heard. Jesus is taken up into the zone of God’s glory and so is filled with transcendent authority. Speech about glory points to the assignment of new authority. The epistle reading asserts the authority of the true teachers of the church who rightly present and interpret the scriptural tradition.
• Read Exodus 24:12-18. When did you last experience a life-altering encounter with God?
• Read Psalm 99. Have you ever felt that if God really knew you, you would be hopeless? What changed your mind?
• Read 2 Peter 1:16-21. For the epistle writer, the Transfiguration event focuses more on hearing than on seeing. How do you listen for God’s words?
• Read Matthew 17:1-9. What dark places have you seen brightened by Christ’s presence—through you or others?
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