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On the second Sunday of Lent, we move from Jesus' retreat to the desert and temptation by the devil to the glory shown in Jesus' Transfiguration. Today’s scene closely resembles God’s revelation to Moses, who also brought along three companions and whose face also shone brilliantly. 

The people of Israel had been led out of bondage, but they still needed direction. Not just directions of where to turn or how far to go in their journey toward the Promised Land, but also directions for how to live as a people who had been chosen and called by God to be “a light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6).

These directions were given to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai.  Moses came into contact with God and he was changed. Not only in appearance, but deep down in the core of his being. He had come close to the Holy One. He had seen God and he had been changed—forever.   It should be noted that Moses was not only changed in a personal or private way by his encounter with God, but it was such a life-altering event that it also changed the ways that he interacted and communicated with others. So, this life-changing experience was not an isolated, personal, religious experience, but a very public thing that changed the life of Moses.

 This morning, we are reminded in our Gospel passage of another mountaintop encounter with God. The Gospel author tells us that about eight days after Peter had acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus and a small group of his closest friends and disciples had slipped away from the crowds to go up the mountain and pray.

Peter, James, and John had already given up everything to follow Jesus. They had heard his teaching, they had asked questions, and they had witnessed the miraculous. Yet it wasn’t until this time and place that their eyes were opened to see Jesus the Christ in his true appearance, flanked by two of the greatest prophets of their faith.

 They had walked with Jesus, but it wasn’t until this very moment that their eyes were transformed to see Christ transfigured before them. They heard the voice of God: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”
They couldn’t un-see what they had witnessed—reality peeled back to give a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. They were changed. When they descended the mountain, they kept silent and told no one of what they had seen and experienced.  

Like Moses who saw God on the mountaintop or the people who witnessed the inbreaking of the Kingdom of God through the life of Christ on earth, like the disciples who couldn’t quite recognize the true identity of Jesus until he was transfigured before their eyes, we too are forever changed when we see and encounter God.

Today, on this Day of Resurrection, we encounter God again. We encounter God in gathered community, in Word proclaimed, in Bread broken and in Wine poured.  And so we are changed once more. That change which began when we were first conceived by God continues today as we are changed from one degree of glory to the next and our faces shine with the splendour and glory of God.

“Listen to Him,” the Voice tells us from the cloud. If, like Abraham, we put our faith in His words, one day we too will be delivered into “the land of the living” that we sing of in today’s Psalm. We will share in His resurrection, as Paul promises, our lowly bodies glorified like His. 

None can come to Christ…and go away as they came….Our coming to Christ changes everything.


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