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Between Sundays for Week of February 20, 2023

Jesus was transfigured before them,

and his face shone like the sun,

and his clothes became dazzling white. Matthew 17:2

What happened up on that mountain? It’s just one of many questions that Sunday’s text from Matthew 17 brings up. (You can hear the full array of questions by listening to the podcast, or by watching Sunday’s service.)

The story of Jesus transfigured on the mountain is weird! And it often raises more questions than it answers. In church, we often rely on the certainty of our answers, but what if the whole point of this strange story is to lean into and voice the questions? What is it about this weird story that the church wants us to hear and ponder each year as we prepare to enter into Lent?

In the end, we don’t know exactly what happens on the mountaintop with Jesus, Peter, James and John. What we do know is that God changed Jesus in some amazing way and Peter, James and John were there to see it. What if Jesus’ Transfiguration matters to the church because it reminds us that God is still at work around us — sometimes even through the people we spend our daily lives with — and sometimes we get to see it? We get to participate in it!

Maybe the questions we raise in response to the Transfiguration (and really any part of our faith) invite us to be aware of all the other places in our lives where we find ourselves asking questions. Maybe those are the places where God is working too . . . and seeking us to join in!

Friends, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday this Wednesday, February 22! We’ll share in worship at Noon and 7 pm at Bethlehem. Both services will include the Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion. The 7 pm service will also be livestreamed. Visit our website to read about Bethlehem’s Lenten theme and the ways we will lean into the questions of faith together.

P.S. One way you’re invited to be part of what God is up to in the world is by responding in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey, donate to Lutheran World Relief here.

The Word Logo

This weird narrative of Jesus’ transfigured on a mountain raises all sorts of questions. And Amy voices many of them today. (Maybe even a few that you find yourself asking!) In her reflection on this text, Amy wonders if our questions might not be a deeply faithful response to the world we live in today . . . a sign that God is up to something new and inviting us to be a part of it.


Jesus was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. –Matthew 17:2

Sometimes someone changes and you get to see it.

And sometimes you finally see what was always there.

Maybe this is the real grace of transfiguration,

not that things change but that our seeing does,

that we see with eyes of wonder,

that we see divine presence in this world,

that we see resurrection in every death,

see the gleam that is each person,

even the doomed,

that we see them beyond the limits of their flesh,

see them in company with saints, see them divine,

risen already from whatever deaths and disappointments

they will endure, still shining. We see with eyes of mercy.

Maybe the miracle is not the light that enters our eyes

but the light that shines out from them.

Pray that by the grace of the God who shines

our eyes may be transfigured.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes (you can read more at his website.