Sunday, February 22, 2009


The lectionary assigned Mark 9:2-9 for this Sunday. You remember the story. Jesus takes Peter, James and John up the mountain. Jesus appears in dazzling light, always a Biblical symbol for the presence of God. With Jesus are Moses, the giver of the law, and Elijah, the last of the prophets. Jesus plus the law and the prophets.

The text says that Jesus is talking with Moses and Elijah. Jesus is in conversation, you see, with the whole of Jewish tradition. Jesus is connected to all of Judaism. Without the history of Judaism there is no Jesus.

A recent Confirmand asked her mentor why there is an Old Testament and a New Testament. Some have taken to calling the Old Testament the Jewish Scriptures. That would be correct, of course. Either way, Jesus and the church come out of the whole story of God's work with his people Israel.

Peter, seeing the vision of Jesus transfigured, wants to build three tabernacles, three churches, to house this experience, to keep it forever.

In my sermon, for today, I said that Transfiguration is confirmation, worship, transformation and challenge. Here at the end of Epiphany is a pretty good epiphany.

The disciples are now prepared for what is to come when they come down from the mountain. Well, they are as prepared as any of us can be. Jesus will continue to chide them and us for having "little faith". And, when Jesus is taken away they/we will scatter.

So, today let's slip in among Peter, James and John. Let us listen to that voice: "This is my son, the Beloved; Listen to him." So, may we begin Lent together.

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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