Rev. Daniel Eggold
Feb 19, 2020
Exodus 24:8–18; Psalm 2:6–12; 2 Peter 1:16–21; Matthew 17:1–9
To be inside a cloud usually means to be in a fog. But what about a bright cloud? The one in our gospel Sunday is the Shekhinah, the very presence of God. It is the same glorious cloud that guided the Israelites out of Egypt, covered Mt. Sinai at the giving of the commandments, rested over the tabernacle in the wilderness, and filled the temple built by King Solomon as a dwelling-place for God. Now, with radiant brilliance, it overshadows the mountain where Jesus’ own dazzling glory has just been revealed.
The past three seasons of our church year—Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany—have pointed us toward light. As the days grew shorter, we lit Advent candles in joyful hope. For twelve days we celebrated the birth of Christ, our light shining in the darkness. Throughout the growing daylight of Epiphany, we have witnessed the spread of the lifegiving light of the good news. Jesus has been revealed as prophet and teacher, and more. All has led up to this amazing moment, when even Moses and Elijah are eclipsed and the full divinity of Jesus appears, bathed in heavenly light.
A voice repeats the words from Jesus’ baptism: “This is my Son, the Beloved.” For the twinkling of an eye, all is clear; then the vision fades, as visions by definition do. We return to our usual fog. But for a brief shining moment we were able to say, with Peter, “It is good for us to be here.”
We need to savor our own moments of vision when they happen, even if they do not include direct voices from heaven or glittering clouds. They sustain us through life’s overcast skies and the worst ravages of its stormy weather. We do well to be attentive to the small epiphanies that enlighten our lives “as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in [our] hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).
O God, in the transfiguration of your Son you confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the witness of Moses and Elijah, and in the voice from the bright cloud declaring Jesus your beloved Son, you foreshadowed our adoption as your children. Make us heirs with Christ of your glory, and bring us to enjoy its fullness, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.