Our February 14 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. We are excited to say that this Sunday, February 21 @ 8 & 10:30 am, our church will reopen their doors again for in-person worship. The 14th the last service that will be taken from the green “Lutheran Book of Worship” for now. We will begin using the new red “Evangelical Lutheran Worship” books. Services will continue to be streamed online.
The February 21 Sunday worship service will be held with in-person attendance. We will now return to in-person worship services. We will still be wearing masks, social distancing and lots of hand sanitizer, but we will be open.
It is scheduled to be streamed live on the DeSoto Redeemer Facebook page. We will post a direct link to the recording here as soon as it is possible after the service.
We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.
THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD
2 Kings 2:1-12 | Psalm 50:1-6
2 Corinthians 4:3-6 | Mark 9:2-9
Transfiguration: to change physically. The text about Elijah going up into Heaven isn’t a transfiguration. It is a “translation.” Now, when we talk about the Bible, and use the word “translation,” we usually mean one of the dozens of ways, and there are several dozen of them, that the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words have been brought into English for our reading pleasure. This is especially true since most good Christians don’t know Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. So, we rely on someone else to tell us what the Scriptures say. But, the word “translate” has another meaning. It actually comes from the Latin word, another language that most people don’t know anymore, “translates” which means to “be carried across.” And so, it can mean “to be converted into another form or medium.” Because of that, it is the official term for when a person is taken bodily into Heaven. They are “translated into heaven.” They have been “carried across, or converted into another medium,” except for Jesus, who ascends into Heaven, but he is divine. There are two people in the Old Testament who are translated into heaven: Elijah, in the text today; and in the Book of Genesis, Enoch, “who walked with God.” They are the only two people in history who did not die. The Old Testament lesson doesn’t really fit as a transfiguration, but since the Old Testament and Gospel lessons are supposed to compliment each other, this story must have been as close as the lectionary committee could come to the transfiguration text in Mark’s Gospel. Or, the other reason may be that according to tradition, Elijah was supposed to return before the coming of the Messiah. Normally, Christians hold that John the Baptist is Elijah returned, but, in today’s Gospel, Elijah is there, indicating at the Transfiguration that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the Christ.
Transfiguration, to visibly change. That is what Peter, James and John witness on the mountain top. They see Jesus change. It is interpreted that in this occasion, his divinity shown out through his humanity. Indeed it shines through so brightly, that even his clothes become dazzling white. (BTW, Elijah is there with Moses as well – Greatest of the prophets, and the “Lawgiver”). The apostles are overwhelmed. Who wouldn’t be? James and John are probably in shock at seeing this, at lest they seem to be speechless. Peter is the only one who speaks. And of course, he says the wrong thing. “Let’s build three dwellings (booths- actually, altars or shrines). As usual, Peter misses the point entirely. And this time, Peter is corrected by God personally. This has to be worse than being sent to the Principal’s Office! “This is my Son – listen to him.” He takes precedent over Elijah and Moses, over the prophets and the Law, who are now bearing witness to him (ala Paul). His message is more important. It is the most important. There is only one shrine, one altar, and that is Jesus himself. I’m sure that Peter, James and John never looked at Jesus the same way afterwards.
Change: All things change. Just wait a while.
A. One of the entertaining things about watching the generations, and politics, is watching the struggle over change. By definition, conservatives (tend to be the older generation) want to maintain the “old ways” and don’t want things to change. They will lose in the end. In the end, the best that they can hope for is to slow down the amount of change. Liberals (or worse, Radicals), (tend to be the younger generation) want to change everything, now. They will lose too. Things won’t change all at once; they won’t get everything that they want to change. If the conservatives are successful, they will slow the liberals and radicals down to the point that by the time the liberals and radicals are in a position to accomplish the changes that they wanted, they are now older, and have become conservatives themselves. I believe that it is a great joke which God has played on the generations of humanity to play over and over again. But change will inevitably come.
Change: There are times when change is necessary, or forced. We are experiencing that now. Thanks to the pandemic, even the Church has changed. We are worshipping virtually, receiving Holy Communion in our cars. But, soon, starting on Ash Wednesday, once again, we will be able to worship together in person. We will be safely spaced out from each other, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer by the gallon. We won’t be able to have our Lenten Soup Suppers, yet at least. But, we will be together once more. And because of that, Lent won’t seem as dark this year. It may even seem joyful to many. Change can be a good thing. It can be enlightening even in dark times.
Christ is transfigured on the mountain top. Through him, we are transfigured too. He changes us. He takes our sinfulness, takes it upon himself. He then gives us his righteousness, the “Happy Exchange” or “Sweet Swap.” Our faith in Christ, changes us, by God’s grace. We are forgiven. Christ takes us as we are, and changes us into what God desired us to be, His children. We too, become God’s beloved, through Christ’s merit. And so, yes, we too should listen to him. For, we shall never be seen the same way (sinful) by God again. Now, somehow, even in these dark times, during a particularly dark almost year or pestilence, we reflect Christ’s light and righteousness to all.