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The Transfiguration of Our Lord - Luke 9:28-43a

Peter didn’t bring his cell phone.

That must be why he wanted to build stuff, and also why we don’t have any record of the Transfiguration on Instagram.

He was unable to capture the moment, and so are we.

Yes, we will get pictures and probably even video of today’s baptisms, but we

will not be able to capture the holy moment any more than religion can capture

God or bottles can capture lightning.

We cannot keep these children this size forever.

We cannot keep ourselves from aging either.

For all our technology and brilliance and effort and skill, there are some things we

cannot capture.

The best ones capture us.

The beauty of baptism is not that any of our five new siblings in Christ have earned their

way into the family, or that any of the rest of us have either, but that the God who

lights up the face of Jesus and darkens the mountain in cloud decides, in God’s

way in God’s time, to lavish new life and everlasting faithfulness upon us.

So today, many faces who love these five children will glow.

Their smiles will dazzle.

But it won’t last.

There is a dark cloud gathering.

We can’t stay here.

Wintson Churchill once famously advised, “When you are going through hell, keep


Today’s gospel says, “When you are in heaven, keep going.”

Disciples of Jesus cannot stay on the mountaintop.

This strange, supernatural episode is really a potent reinforcement of the hard lesson they

are reluctantly learning right now at a pivotal point in Luke’s gospel.

They have just returned from a wildly successful mission during which they cast out

many demons, exactly what they are now about to fail to do.

Peter has identified Jesus as the Messiah, but the response stopped them all short.

Jesus tells them he must die and that following him means carrying a cross.

He will say it again just after today’s reading.

It is eight days after these sayings that today’s gospel takes place with the very

same three sleepy-heads who joined Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.

When Moses and Elijah show up, they talk with Jesus about his departure—literally, his

exodus—which will go down in Jerusalem.

When Peter tries to stay put and start a capital campaign, God interrupts him, clairifies

Jesus’ identity and authority, and says in Greek, Keep listening to him.

Continuing, ongoing listening.

When Jesus is saying things you don’t want to hear, keep listening.

When he says, leave this slice of heaven and follow me to hell, keep going.

When he says, leave the glory on the summit for the dumpster fire down the hill, keep going.

What happens there only reinforces all of this.

It is the Transfiguration in the mirror: low elevation, big crowd, disciples who