Transfigured

Matthew 17:1-9

We cannot read this passage without thinking of being transformed. Isn't this what we are supposed to get out of this? Jesus becomes dazzling and is not himself, God transforming power to his beloved. We go up the mountaintop and returned changed, or do we. See there is this one thing about Peter, he doesn't get it. I don't mean just up on the mountaintop, I mean from before that and beyond. Lets follow this story.

Just before this Peter recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, then Jesus explains that he has to die in order for things to be complete. Peter rebukes him for saying these things and Jesus tells Peter his words are not his but Satan. Then we go up the mountaintop and Jesus is transformed and Elijah and Moses appear and Peter wants to make this last forever. See death is not here, lets make some tents, stay here, Instead they come down. Further yet we have the trial and Peter denies knowing Jesus three times.

So I wonder. I wonder how come Peter stuck with it. I wonder how Jesus put up with this disciple misunderstanding everything and building the church, on the rock. I wonder how Peter made it past the tomb and grave to the rest of the story. As it stands Peter didn't get, didn't want to hear the path they were on would lead to death and so he kept denying it existed. So how in the world did Jesus keep him on and how in the world did Peter hang around?

I think it would've been difficult. I want us to acknowledge the elephant in the room here. Some of us voted for Trump and some of us voted for another person. Yet somehow we end up reading this blog or coming to church because what unites us is Jesus. It is the bafflement of faith to be united with those we disagree with. We've been reading Paul the last few weeks. Paul and a fighting church. We belong to Apollo, no Cephas, no Paul, and Paul says we belong to Christ, period.

One of the things from the transfiguration which sticks out to me is Peter suggesting this building of tents. To keep the Jewish identity intact, to mark this place, to build a tent to our own side. Yet Jesus doesn't fall into this and neither does God. Listen, listen to what Jesus says. Fulfill the law, deeply, love your neighbor, more even your enemy, be salt and light. Listen to Jesus, know what Jesus has to say because this is what unites us.

Then get up, rise up don't be afraid. Don't be afraid when you face the difficulty of difference. Don't be afraid of all the things this world will tell you because we're supposed to believe in the next. Don't be afraid if your path takes you to healing division. Isn't this what we do in the breaking of the bread? We proclaim the times we don't get it, the times we are like Peter and want to erect our tent of things staying exactly as they are, our tent of our own image of things. Yet our own anything isn't what its about.

Its about Jesus, the man who traveled around hanging out with the outcast and the sinners. Its about Jesus teaching us that the law is deeper than just a surface glance. Its about loving your neighbor, your enemies, those who everyone else wants to forget. Its about gathering around the table not to feed but to recognize we don't fully possess the capabilities to transform this world on our own, God does. Its about recognizing our frailties and believing somehow God can still work through all of it.

This is part of Peter's problem, when we get caught up in the urgency of making things right now we lose the foresight of a constant God. We look at win or lose and we've already lost. Winning  or losing is not the answer, if it were we believe in a Jesus who lost it all. Its about a constant love which yearns to take all the differences and heal them. Because the most important thing is we are God's and we are all God's children.