Last Sunday after the Epiphany + Transfiguration
19 February 2012 2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We have been given a unique opportunity in the Transfiguration of our Lord to consider the glory of God. The glory of God can certainly create misunderstanding and misplaced priorities, false hopes and mistaken dreams even for believers. There was a good reason only three of Jesus’ closest disciples were invited to witness this supernatural event, and were enjoined to strict silence until after the Savior’s resurrection from the dead. Knowledge of such an event could very easily detract from the necessity and the power of the cross. In fact, something we call a theology of glory betrays our ongoing vulnerability on this exact point. The following statements illustrate how this theology of glory might play out in our lives:
Human beings, though flawed and sinful, are fundamentally capable of doing good and knowing God;
God is to be sought by ascending ladders of mystical experiences, religious or philosophical speculation or moral achievement;
Seeks direct, unmediated knowledge of and encounter with “the naked God” and sees such a direct encounter as an unqualified “good thing”;
Can contemplate God’s omnipotence and majesty without fear;
Views worship primarily as a celebration, seeking to ascend to God;
Feels it knows God immediately through His expressions of divine wisdom, power and glory.
In contrast to this popular but erroneous view, the glory of God has always been revealed through means such as the Law and the Prophets, the face of Christ Jesus and through His body the Church.
1. The glory of God in the Law and the Prophets
a. Moses, the Ten Commandments, curb – mirror – guide
b. Elijah, false prophets condemned, people called back to fear, love and trust in God rather than their idols
2. The glory of God in the face of Jesus and the Church
a. Going down into the depths of humiliation, temptation, suffering and death
b. To serve the neighbor, overlook the offense, love the enemy.