The Feast of the Transfiguration is perhaps my favorite feast day outside the biggies (Easter, Pentecost, Christmas, Epiphany). We actually get to hear the transfiguration story twice each year – this Sunday and on August 6 (my ordination to the priesthood was on August 6 – so that adds to my attachment to this feast). The story of Peter, James, and John going up the mountain with Jesus always speaks fresh truth.
If it's been a while, go on over to Mark 9:2-9. Jesus took Peter, James, and John (the inner circle) up high on a mountain. It was there that Jesus was 'transfigured.' We don't know exactly what Jesus looked like as he was transfigured, other than his clothes became whiter than all the Clorox in the world. It was a revelation to Peter, James, and John that Jesus is of God – he is God. If that wasn't enough, Moses and Elijah appeared beside Jesus. To put that in perspective, think George Washington and Abraham Lincoln appearing beside a politician giving their endorsement.
A spectacular event. So spectacular that Peter didn't want to leave. "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." The Gospel writers chastise Peter for saying this. I've always wanted to defend Peter because – why wouldn't you want to stay there? Why not bask in the presence of God and his prophets?
Because there was much to do down the mountain. Down the mountain was a boy who needed healing (9:17-29). Down the mountain were people who needed to hear good news. Down the mountain…
Tomorrow is our Annual Parish meeting. We will elect new vestry members at noon in Drake Hall. At both services I'll give the State of the Church. We'll talk about all the wonderful things that St Timothy's has done for the Kingdom of God. But we'll also talk about the work that remains to be done…down the mountain.
Fr. Steve Rice
Rector, St Timothy's Episcopal Church