Sunday, March 6, 2011
The disciples would have everything in them tested by what they would see on the cross. No words or works of Jesus could fully prepare them for the brutal agony of His death, for the betrayal of the inner circle by Judas, or by the surprise waiting in the garden of the tomb. So Jesus gives them a glimpse of that glory hidden in His flesh and blood so that they may see Him clearly and see Him only as they journey with Him to the cross. It was a gift and blessing to them as well as the revelation that all of Scripture (the Law and the Prophets) speaks to, points to, and is fulfilled by Jesus. He is the body in its cradle of revelation, wisdom, and truth and apart from Him it is but a book of words. He is the power who gives that Word the grace to do what it promises and to accomplish its holy purpose with the success of the Father as its mission -- just as Jesus does.
It is a shame that so many come to Church and yet remain aloof or distant from this mountain top experience. We used the Epiphany Eucharistic Prayer from the Hymnal Supplement 98 and I love the way it draws together the Incarnation, the Epiphany, the Transfiguration, AND what happens at the Table of the Lord.
As you filled Your ancient temple
with the glory of Your presence,
so at the incarnation of Your only-begotten Son,
You wrapped the fullness of Your glory in human flesh.
We give You thanks
that You reveal that glory to us
in the body and blood of Your own dear Son,
given us to eat and drink for the forgiveness of our sins.
Grant us faithfully
to receive His gracious presence among us,
that we may one day
behold His glory face to face...
And here we are... setting aside our Alleluias for a time, to walk with Jesus the journey to the cross where He reveals the glory hidden there in the surprise of obedience that makes the rebel sinner righteous, of suffering that gives him relief, of death that gives him life, and of life that cannot be taken again from him again... Ahhh, there is much in the Transfiguration to prick and prod us during the Divine Service... I just pray we can catch part of it today...
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Boy, I wish our LCMS church would have concentrated on the Transfiguration in today's service by conducting a Divine Service ... nope, we had to ask the question in that contemporary hymn "Are you here Lord? We are here." Okay, maybe not an exact translation, but that's what it felt like we were singing instead of KNOWING God was amongst us!
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