This weekend, we travel with Jesus up the mountain to witness a miracle. This particular wonder occurs in all three synoptic gospels – that’s Matthew, Mark, and Luke for everyone playing at home – the ones that all sound like each other. And this story is a sort of early vision of what glory is to come.

Taking three of his earliest disciples, Jesus travels up a very high mountain and suddenly he is “transfigured” before them. Changed. Transformed. Metamorphosed. Remade. And then with him we find the two greatest patriarchs from the ancient Hebrew faith: Moses and Elijah. Both were miracle workers and prophets of the highest order. Both came into the world when God’s people needed them most. Both displayed the awesome power of God that could revolutionize the world around them.

And how do the disciples react?

“This is so great! Let us build a sideshow tent and keep you here forever!”

We humans love to keep God in the boxes of our own invention. We have been doing so since the very beginning. In fact, the Second Commandment about graven images has far more to do with us placing limits on who God is and how God interacts with the world (or at least our understanding of it) than any form of artwork.

If we can keep God in one place, at one particular time, or even better, doing the things we want God to do – then God is in our control. Which is far more often what we mean when we say “God is in control” than what we think we are saying.

As Tim Keller himself has said, “If your god never disagrees with you, might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself.”

What Transfiguration Sunday invites us to do is to remember that God is so much bigger than any vision we can possible have or box we can create. Even better, we are called to remember that our God is the Creator of far more than simply what we can record, but also all the great in-betweens. Those liminal spaces like that transfiguration mountain – not just day and night, but also dawn and dusk, which are oh, so much more spectacular.

Just a few things to ponder as we enter into our final Sunday before Lent begins. See you soon!

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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