And he was transfigured before them…Matthew 17:2
A few years ago, I made a church sign that read, “Jesus transfigured before Star Wars made it cool.”
Interestingly, many of us who love Star Wars likely think of this image every time we hear that Jesus’ visage was changed and on either side of him stood Moses and Elijah:
When I shared this story with our youth group this past weekend, one of them suggested, “So Jesus is Yoda?” For which, I am quite certain, all the baby Yoda lovers rejoiced.
Though Star Wars has nothing to do with Christianity, the image is still quite helpful.
The thought of Jesus suddenly changing appearance is a difficult concept for us to grasp. We live in a world that functions on exact figures and the search for fact. The Transfiguration is a mystical experience beyond our ken.
And yet, many of us have had our own mountain-top experiences with God. Usually God did not appear quite like the characters from Episode VI, but we could still feel God speaking and moving us in a particular direction.
Transfiguration Sunday is the last Sunday before the beginning of Lent. And it was placed there because, as we head into the valley of death over the next seven weeks, we need to remember who Jesus truly is.
Jesus is God’s own self made flesh. Jesus is also fully human. If we lose sight of either of these facts, we have forgotten who it is that we serve: a God who is bigger than any single visage and yet wise enough to become tangibly present. It is Christ’s dual nature that makes him uniquely qualified for all the work that Jesus accomplished in his life and his death.
So what should the transfiguration mean to us?
Well, a good start is to remember that once we understand who Jesus is, then we can begin to understand who we are. What we are to live (and sometimes die) for. How we are to represent our God in this world.
Begin there and see how you are called to resist all powers that would keep this world in darkness. See you in worship!
Blessings, Pastor Janie