|2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
|Luke 9:28-36 & 37-43a
by Benjamin Cowan
Luke 9:28-36, (37-43a)
The gospel reading tells two stories. First, Peter, John, and James are with Jesus to pray after traveling with him to a mountain. While there, they see Jesus transfigured and here the voice of God affirm Jesus’ identity. The disciples reacted in a manner like most of us would today—shock, awe, confusion, joy, and fear. It was equally an exciting and terrifying moment in their lives! Important to this story is how Peter, John, and James arrived at this moment. They had a relationship with Jesus. Marjorie Suckhocki once wrote, “…through relationship we become what we are.” The transfiguration text is a call to open our minds to the beauty of God and not to allow our preconceived notions to define who God is. If we open ourselves to this relationship and this relationship involves others, we may be astonished of how we can see God in a new way.
The second half of the gospel reading makes explicit the purpose of this encounter, not mystical estacy, but to go back and change the world because we ourselves have been changed by a relationship with God. Jesus exercises a demon from the boy. In the process he rebukes the crowd for their faithlessness. The crowd can not enact a new possibility for the boy because they hold unchanging notions of life versus the process of becoming that the kingdom of God offers.
The gospel text challenges us to look at ourselves and ask, do we capitulate to our fears, which leads to stagnation, or are we willing to embrace the transformation that can come from change by believing in and actively engaging our world to see a new one?
The readings from Exodus affirm this theme of how we are transformed through relationships. Moses in his relationship with God is opened to a new way of living that will allow his people to embrace becoming all that they can be. When we allow our relationship with God to change us we can be a voice of persuasion for good to those with whom we have relationships.
The psalm reminds us of the content of the new way of living that is given to Moses—a call to justice and equity. In fact, that psalm establishes the importance of justice and equality not only in God’s nature but in the nature of those who follow God. God is a merciful advocate for these things!
2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
Finally, the reading of Paul brings these themes together. In Exodus, Moses puts a veil over his face to protect the children of Israel from the physical effects of his encounter with God. Paul sees this metaphorically as hiding how our relationship with the Spirit of God has changed us and it blocks us from seeing the beauty of God in each other. Paul sees the Israelite inability to see Moses face as a symptom of not believing in the possibility of something better. In essence, the veil is a product of what Jesus admonished the crowd for in the gospel text—not believing in the possibility of change. However, to those who have a relationship with God, they are to believe unashamedly that through relationship we become what we are and positively effect the world for justice and equity! It is worth our time to examine: are we hiding behind a veil or if we have put veils upon others in other to not see the beauty of God in them?