News From Pastor Hues - 02.08.18
News from Pastor Hues
I felt like a genius when no one in my Sunday School class could figure out my secret word. We were playing the Bible version of hangman. As I drew the last details on my stick figure man hanging from the gallows, I filled in the rest of the word. The word I chose was transfiguration. I didn’t really know what it meant, but I knew the word. Occasionally, I would break it out to flex my third-grade biblical prowess. But to me at age eight, it was simply a big word from a crazy story that I didn’t quite understand.
Honestly, to claim to know with full and definitive authority what the transfiguration was all about is an attempt to render a mysterious event within the confines of human reason. We assume it has something to do with the law and the prophets finding their complete fulfillment in Christ. We assume it has something to do with transformation as Christ was seemingly glowing white while upon the mountaintop. We assume that the transfiguration is related to Christ’s authority as a voice from heaven commands the disciples to “listen to him” just as the same voice gave the same injunction at Jesus’ baptism. We know that transfiguration has something to do with a metamorphosis of sorts because the Greek metamorphethe is the word that is rendered “transfiguration.”
Perhaps there was a change. A strengthening that took place in Jesus that propelled him ever forward into his mission. We see the mission focus of this story in how when the voice stops speaking, when Elijah and Moses have disappeared, when the radiant shine grew dimmer, Jesus and his disciples march right back down the mountain and into the city. This event somehow refocuses Jesus’ mission with a stark newness and urgency to keep moving forward.
Of one thing we can be certain is that the disciples are dumbstruck and unsure of how to react to what they are seeing. They were like that eight-year-old boy who knows the word transfiguration but does not know how to engage with the word to begin to even understand what happened on that mountain. Perhaps this is precisely the point. All we can do is make assumptions. But ultimately, we are like Peter asking Jesus if we’re camping out when the glory of God is literally in his face.
Perhaps this is the challenge of the Transfiguration. Not figuring out how Jesus was changed on the mountain, but rather wondering how we might be changed in the midst of an encounter with the Living God. Living in the tension of the mystery, yet in the humble awe of God at work.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Dan Hues