Last Sunday After Epiphany
Kenneth C. Kroohs
Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 99; Philippians 3:7-14; Matthew 17:1-9
February 14, 1999
Later this week we begin my least favorite church season -- Lent. So let's enjoy this last Sunday before then!! Lent is not a favorite season of mine and every year I wish it were only about 4 or 5 days long. Despite that, I very much appreciate the great gift we have in the church calendar. The sense of movement from one time to another. More importantly the sense of movement from one attitude to another. As human beings we relate to God, and to each other, in different ways at different periods of our lives. The church calendar provides a way to incorporate those changes into our spiritual life.
So, this is the last Sunday after the Epiphany. This is the last Sunday of what I will argue, is the most important church season of them all. Big statement, and one that very few people would agree with. We all know that Easter is the major event in the Christian year. And Christmas is the most anticipated event. And yet I am suggesting that Epiphany somehow overshadows them.
Epiphany is the most important church season for us because Epiphany is about who we are and who we want to become. Christmas and Easter are about God they are very much about what God has done for us, please never forget that. But in many ways during Christmas and Easter we are observers. Like fans at a football game we appreciate the team's success, we bask in their glory, and we gain from their victory but we were not on the field.
Epiphany is when we begin to understand what that victory means in our lives, how that victory changes us, transfigures us. Unlike sports where the player is very affected by the victory, this victory made no change to the player. God didn't change. In this case only the cheering fans have changed. We have changed. That is what we begin to understand in Epiphany.
Epiphany means "to make known" or "to become known". We tend to think it means a sudden inspiration, the light bulb going off in our heads. Sometimes that happens, but remember that the magi followed that star for a long time. Remember that the disciples were still very confused, even after Jesus' death and resurrection they were confused. One of my favorite scripture lessons is the gospel we read on the Sunday after Easter. We hear that Peter, who was there at the transfiguration, who knew the tomb was empty, knew the women had spoken to the risen Christ, this Peter is hiding in a secret room! Still uncertain. Still confused. An epiphany can take a long time and many lessons.
In fact, here is a second statement that a lot of people would argue with: the important event in today's gospel was not Jesus' clothes turning a dazzling white, or His face shining or His conversation with Moses and Elijah. In fact the important transfiguration was not any change in Jesus. The important transfiguration was the change in the dis ...
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