Sound of the voice

Last Epiphany/Transfiguration – Sunday 10th February 2012
Luke 9: 28-36

The Transfiguration … Bit of a challenging passage … What’s it all about? … The Good News Instant reaction Bible.

The Transfiguration … A very challenging passage … What’s there not to like about it? … More measured The Message response Bible.

I’ve always struggled with the account of The Transfiguration. In the list of most random happening, not-quite-sure-where-it’s-going, head-scratching passages of the Bible it’s certainly in the top three.

I mean, how did they know they were Moses and Elijah … and what did they precisely have to natter about with Jesus. Comparing exodus’s? What’s that all about? And just when it’s getting interesting (says he trying to stifle a yawn) Peter says let’s build a memorial, the antiquity version of a Blue Plaque Ceremony. Then in the mists of an enveloping cloud God’s voice makes an appearance … and before you know it … poof … it all disappears.

If I was Peter, John or James I’d certainly be checking the provenance of those mushrooms served with breakfast.

Wowser. Preach a sermon on that.

But the more I think about it, the more I like the final verse and the way it brings the whole passage into focus … especially Eugene Petersen’s translation of it:

When the sound of the voice died away, they saw Jesus there alone. They were speechless. And they continued speechless, said not one thing to anyone during those days of what they had seen.

When the sound of the voice died away … I particularly like that phrase. Because first off, it gives a calm, serene feeling to this momentous moment the disciples were experiencing. I know that feeling. I often have that moment when I’ve felt God speaking to me and it’s left me with a deep calm and reassurance. Or not necessarily calm, sometimes it leaves me feeling very excited, and it’s like the voice hasn’t died away but is still ringing loud and clear. To know God … that is what this passage is all about for me. And yet …

To NOT know God … They were speechless … There is a way in which God just completely confounds you. I cannot explain his majesty, his wonder, his way of thinking, his way of working. There is so much that happens to my life that defies explanation and logic. It leaves me speechless. Speechless in a good way … and speechless in a bad way too … in equal measure.

But as George Michael sings … You’ve gotta have faith. And faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1).

The Transfiguration … An impossible passage … Fits right in with everything else in The Bible … The Slow Burning Authorised Version comeback Bible.

Happy days

About Neil Chappell

Husband, father, Congregational Minister and football fan all rolled into one convenient package.
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