Detail photo of stained glass depicting a golden knot in Trinity Church

Five Ways Into Sunday’s Scripture: New Ways to Be God’s People

LUKE 9:28–36 

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and, in those days, told no one any of the things they had seen.

This is the last Sunday before we enter into the season of Lent. The story of the Transfiguration sets up Jesus’ journey towards Jerusalem by placing him squarely in God’s salvation history: the story of God’s liberating action for God’s people and the world. “Transfiguration” means to transform or change. Yet in this moment, the presence of Moses and Elijah signal continuity: He is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. It is no wonder that in the midst of all of it, Peter wants to capture the moment; to literally “nail it down” by building houses for everyone. But transformation requires moving on in a new way. As Amy Frykholm writes, “learning to see in new ways is one of the most difficult tasks of the transformed life. Old habits of selective vision, old choices about what to leave out and what to focus on tend to dominate us, even as we search for new ways of living that are in closer communion with the life of the Spirit. Transfiguration — that mysterious transformation of vision that is narrated in [Sunday’s] readings — is a radical, if brief, way of illumination.” We — and our world — have been transformed by the pandemic, racial reckoning, economic upheaval, and climate change. What will we let go of as we move into the season of Lent seeking new ways to be God’s people in the world? 

—Ruth Frey

Dazzling: A Blessing for Transfiguration Sunday by Jan Richardson.

The Salt Project walks us through the passage with observations that help place this reading in the context of Luke’s Gospel and the invitations it offers to us as we enter the season of Lent

Jen Owens writes that “the ministry of Jesus is caught up in the right now and the not yet, encouraging us to show…that we belong to the kind of heaven in which all of creation flourishes.”

Victoria Emily Jones offers two artistic visions of the radiancy of the Transfiguration:

  • “Transfiguration” is a painting by Ventzislav Piriankov.
  • “Radiant” is the third movement of the Concerto for Violoncello and Strings by Dobrinka Tabakova.


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Coming Up

On Saturday, March 5, join Dr. Greg Garrett of Baylor University for Racism, Racial Mythologies, and the White Church, a morning workshop at Trinity to bring to light some of the hateful racial myths still causing damage within our culture, and within the Church. Space is limited, so register soon!

This Sunday at 10am, join Discovery for a community discussion led by the Rev. Dr. Mark Bozzuti-Jones on the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers’ book The Church Cracked Open.

Mondays at 5:30pm, join Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones for The River: Poetry and Practice as she leads mindfulness practice, reflects on a contemporary poem, shares how poetry can be used on your spiritual journey, and provides questions for ongoing reflection.