2.11.2010

Transfiguration Sunday, Year C

Exodus 34.29-35
Psalm 99
2 Corinthians 3.12-4.2
Luke 9.28-43


What does it take to get your attention?

What has to happen to really shake you our of your normal way of seeing or hearing or living to where you view a person or event or the world with a new or different understanding?

Can you think of a time where this has happened to you? Remember the circumstances that led up to it and surrounded that particular moment.

Now, what did you do with that particular new insight? Did it change the way you interacted with the world? Did it change your ability or intention as you interact with others? Did it make you more gentle or more aggressive as you interact with yourself?

Seeing something in a different way is important. However, even more important are the ways we integrate those new perspectives in to our lives.

In the scriptures this week we get some different stories of New Perspectives.

First we see Moses coming down from Mount Sinai. He would climb up to his special spot and be in the presence of God, talk with God, or maybe receive messages from God--any way you look at it, when he came down from his sessions on Sinai, he shone. He had some sort of visible manifestation of having been in the presence of God. Now, we don't know exactly what happened up there or what Moses saw or experienced. However, we can guess that something big happened that got his attention. And then, a second version wave in this particular story is how Moses brought the presence of God along with him to the Israelites. The shining face of Moses Got Their Attention and caused them to know there was something special about the relationship between Moses and God.

The Psalmist gives us a good historical retrospective about a few epiphanic moments in the history of Israel with great praise for God's mighty Attention-Getting. These psalms are indicators of what the Jewish community held dear, revisited and praised. They acknowledged the importance of Paying Attention in their praise.

In Paul's second letter to the followers of Jesus in Corinth, he is doing some comparing and contrasting (and even a little challenging) about what it takes to Get Their Attention and change the ways they are relating to God. He is comparing the experience of Moses with God and then with the Israelites to his current experience with Jesus. He is encouraging them to understand that while Moses was an intermediary between the Israelites and God, the birth and life and death and resurrection of Jesus changed that system and made it where there is no need for an intermediary between the individual believer and God. Paul is encouraging them toward a new epiphany....he is sort of leading them toward it logically to help them understand what it is they have available to them through Christ.

The passage we find in Luke is the Classic Transfiguration Passage. You know the story. Jesus takes Peter and John and James up on a mountain to pray. While they were praying, Moses and Elijah appeared and started talking with Jesus, and then the voice of God came from the cloud that surrounded them saying "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him." As would be true with most of this, this Got Their Attention. And look at the next story that happens the next day when they come down from the mountain. A man met them whose son was possessed with a spirit that made him hurt himself, the man had asked the disciples at the bottom of the mountain to help him, and they could not. Jesus offers some slightly terse words to those present, and then he heals the boy. And this scene (like so many Jesus was a part of) Got Their Attention.

Now we know the follow up to some of these stories. We know that some of their lives were different from these moments forward. We also know that some of them were not. And so we return to the initial questions:

What does it take to get your attention?

What has to happen to really shake you our of your normal way of seeing or hearing or living to where you view a person or event or the world with a new or different understanding?

Can you think of a time where this has happened to you? Remember the circumstances that led up to it and surrounded that particular moment.

Now, what did you do with that particular new insight? Did it change the way you interacted with the world? Did it change your ability or intention as you interact with others? Did it make you more gentle or more aggressive as you interact with yourself?

Seeing something in a different way is important. However, even more important are the ways we integrate those new perspectives in to our lives.

God,
How many times
have I looked away
when You were
standing beside me
trying desperately
to Capture my Attention?
Help me to pay Attention,
to be Alert,
to Watch
for You
and to be Aware
of what that means
to your Kingdom.
Amen.

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