Vie de Jesus Mafa: Transfiguration
(Please page down for the poem on the 2 Kings and Mark passages.)
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
A Church Unveiled
If we do not proclaim ourselves,
But Christ as Lord, and we, then, slaves
To those we might the good news tell -
That changes what we're called to crave.
No longer need we fear the worst -
An empty church, and shuttered doors -
Instead, our hunger and our thirst
Would be for those the world deplores.
Contagious joy - for all - would show
That Christ has touched our hearts and souls,
And Church would be where none outgrow
The God whose love our love extols.
Scott L. Barton
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
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2 Kings 2:1-12 and Mark [8: 31-9:1] 9:2-9
Nerving the Church
Elisha doesn't want this gig to end;
He can't imagine losing both his mentor and his friend;
The prophets keep on telling him he'll lose his master dear;
He'd stop such words he doesn't want to hear.
When Jesus told his friends what they would see,
And Peter took his Lord aside to say: "That cannot be!"
The Lord's response to his, "No way!" was, "Yes, that is the way;
"And Satan from my life would have you stray."
Elisha thought he'd need a guarantee,
A double share of ruah for success would be the key;
Elijah said he'd need to see his end, and spirit claim;
Elisha new Elijah then became.
When Peter thought the vision they could hold,
A voice to Peter, James and John just like the thunder rolled,
And they remembered what to them six days ago he'd said,
Which nerved their trust in One raised from the dead.
Scott L. Barton
(George Buttrick said that the Transfiguration nerved the early church. It seems to me that these two parallel stories of disciples who don't want their master to leave them can still serve to nerve the church today to take on the mantle of the One whose giving knew - and knows - no bounds. I include previous verses to the given Gospel text because I think they are critical to understanding the voice from the cloud.)
Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent.” Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be silent.” Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.
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[Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”]
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.