February 7, 2016
Luke 9:28-36 (37-43)
2 Corinthians 3:12--4:2
Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99

Super-Sized Spectacles of Faith
Transfiguration Sunday

Click here for the full installment.

Chris Keating
In this week’s gospel text, Jesus takes Peter, John, and James up on a mountain with him to pray. The disciples likely expected nothing out of the ordinary -- but as Jesus “was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.” As if that wasn’t enough of a shock to their system, then the startled disciples saw Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus about “his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” Predictably, Peter was so flummoxed that his initial reaction misses the point -- but as if to underline the real focus of the transfiguration, God comes to them in a cloud and tells them: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” What this is really about, of course, is not a gratuitous display of God’s mastery of special effects but a revealing to the disciples present of Jesus’ true inner nature -- and in the next installment of The Immediate Word, team member Chris Keating suggests that Super Bowl Sunday (which coincides this year with Transfiguration Sunday) likewise reveals a great deal about America’s true inner nature. But while we may all be awed by the over-the-top spectacle of the Super Bowl (and especially the star-studded halftime show), Chris notes that this all pales compared to the power and glory that God demonstrates on the mountaintop. Here’s a preview:

Super-Sized Spectacles of Faith
by Chris Keating
Luke 9:28-36 (37-43a)

It’s not just Super Sunday -- it’s a super-sized extravaganza, the zenith of all gargantuan sporting events, America’s highest holy day of the year... complete with celebrities, glamour, 10,000-calorie-per-serving nachos, million-dollar television commercials, and (of course) football.

Whataday. What-an-amazin’ day.

The Super Bowl, and all the hoopla that leads up to it, is nearly a national holiday. This year’s event features a stylistic contrast in the quarterback matchup as Peyton Manning meets Cam Newton, with a side of Beyonce, Bruno Mars, and Coldplay at halftime. It is also the game’s golden anniversary, fittingly hosted by San Francisco’s Golden Gate hospitality. Two teams stretch toward the coveted Lombardi trophy -- but in many ways, it is much, much more than just a game.

Coincidentally, this year it’s also a day when we recall a different dazzling spectacle. Jesus’ mountaintop transfiguration demands our attention this week in a way that surpasses even the best football game. The NFL may have Manning and Beyonce, but they’re no match for the celebrity posse Jesus summons on the mountain. As if his stunning costume change -- no wardrobe malfunction here -- was not enough, Jesus brings along Moses and Elijah for cameo appearances. God’s thunderous theophany caps the show, terrifying the already dumbfounded disciples.

Set down the nachos: here is a glory far surpassing the ersatz hype of the Super Bowl. Jesus’ spectacular moment of transfiguration is the real Super Sunday -- and we’d do well to heed God’s call to pay attention to what is happening. Like the disciples, we might just be “astounded at the greatness of God.”

Click here for the full installment.

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Immediate Word Team
(Click on photo
  for author's bio.)

George Reed

Mary Austin

Ronald H. Love

Dean Feldmeyer

Leah Lonsbury

Chris Keating

Robin Lostetter