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All the Bells and Whistles

This Sunday begins the most incredible sequence in the church year, indeed, in all of human history.  It begins with all the Bells and Whistles.  I am speaking of the Transfiguration, which begins Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem, Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter.  The scope of the story is cosmic.  The implications are eternal.  It begins with all the bells and whistles.

 

Because this year’s lectionary readings have placed us in the Gospel of Mark, we will read Mark’s account of the Transfiguration Sunday (Mark 9:2-9).  In it, we witness Jesus, with Peter, James and John, going up a “high mountain” apart.  Where is God encountered in Scripture?  On the mountain.  Mark does not disappoint.  Jesus is transfigured before the disciples, assuming heavenly glory before them.  Moses and Elijah, two of the great figures from Hebrew Scripture and, interestingly, two of the three not to have experienced death,  appear with Jesus.  The disciples’ minds are blown as they are simply unable to comprehend what they are experiencing.  Of course they are terrified as Mark tells us (vs 6).

 

If that isn’t enough, the very glory of God descends and speaks, reminiscent of Moses in Exodus 24:15-18.  This is the second time we’ve heard God speak in Mark.  At Jesus’ baptism, God states that God is “well pleased with Jesus (1:11).”  Here, God declares, “this is my Son, the Beloved.  Listen to Him (9:7)!”  Then, as quickly as it began, it’s over.  We’ve seen all the bells and whistles.

 

Yet, as we learn, the transfiguration is merely God’s validation of Jesus.  Jesus' mission to suffer and die as a sacrifice is not abridged or concluded.  The cup will not pass from Jesus’ lips.  As we survey the wondrous cross, our minds are blown as well.  We observe Lent, not to better understand it, but to acknowledge that it is impossible to understand.  It is simply God’s love poured out through Jesus…to us, and to the world.

 

Lent begins next Wednesday with our Ash Wednesday service at 6:00 p.m, then runs five weeks until Palm Sunday and Holy Week, through Easter.  It is impossible to over emphasize this season and the need for you to participate.  Additionally, there will be a Lenten Study Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. beginning February 18.

 

This is where Jesus’ ministry becomes real and up close.  Please do not miss it.

 

See you Sunday,

 

Paul



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