Thursday, April 8
Gillian Chisom's Transfiguration Sermon
Both the Hebrew Bible and Gospel readings for today feature a transformation—Moses’ face shines because he’s had contact with God, while Jesus’ divine nature is revealed to Peter, James, and John. Both readings, furthermore, focus our attention not just on the transformation itself but in the surrounding community’s reactions to the transformation. In the Hebrew Bible reading, the people’s reaction seems relatively straightforward: they’re afraid of Moses, and so he covers his face, presumably out of sensitivity to their reaction—I’ll come back to that later. For now, I want to focus on the disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ transformation. When I first read the passage, it seemed strange to me that they weren’t more afraid; to me, the situation sounds terrifying. Not only does Jesus, their friend and teacher, suddenly change into someone else, someone totally Other, but he’s speaking with two equally frightening dead guys. Given all of this, it seems strange and astonishing to me that the disciples appear to take the situation in stride.
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