By Mother Rebecca Tankersley
Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and the Lord, Jesus Christ!
This Saturday and Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord — the account of Christ’s ascension up the holy mountain with the three members of his inner circle is familiar to many Christians. Having named our parish after the event, it is especially dear to us. In fact, we can meditate on this significant moment in Jesus’ life and ministry every week by gazing up at the triptych adorning our high altar.
I wonder if our familiarity with and affection for this scene, which is captured in all three Synoptic Gospels and which is assigned to be read on two Sundays every year, leads us to a place of stagnation. I felt as much this week as I opened the lectionary and read the passage for the – what tenth time? – in the relatively short duration of my priestly ministry. “Been there, preached that,” I found myself thinking. I won’t say my familiarity with the text has bred contempt, but this week I hunched that I was on the verge of being lulled into a false sense of mastery over this particular part of God’s word. I am as aware of the hubris hidden in this hunch as I am of the formidable task of hearing familiar texts with fresh ears.
The author of Hebrews reminds us that “the word of God is living and active” (4:12). No matter how many times we may have read a verse or a passage in the past, God’s word continually speaks truth to us. And so, friends, I challenge you this week as I’ve challenged myself – as, indeed, God challenges us all: Spend a few moments reading this passage from Luke with fresh eyes and listening with fresh ears. What word or phrase grabs your attention? What feelings does the passage call forth in your heart? What is God saying to you this week through this familiar text?
Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” —not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts this weekend. See you soon!
About Mother Rebecca
Rebecca joined Transfiguration in May 2018 after having served several churches in the Dallas area. She is married to Scott, an attorney, and they have three sons, Trevor, Elton, and Owen. A native Bostonian, Rebecca moved to Dallas as a toddler (as quickly as she could). At age 10, she moved to Michigan where she finished primary school and earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan. She then returned to Dallas (again, as quickly as she could) where she practiced law for many years before returning to school to earn a Masters of Divinity at Perkins School of Theology at SMU. Rebecca enjoys singing, cycling, hiking, traveling, cooking, and eating. You can contact Mother Rebecca by email.