2LC19. Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18. God promised Abram, who was a simple, childless wanderer that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. Abram took God on his word alone, and it was “credited to him as an act of righteousness.” To seal that covenant Abram brought animals for the sacrifice which God himself offered up in the darkness with “a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch.” At that time God gave Abram and his descendants the Promised Land. God showed his glory in creating his Chosen People, a spectacular work for Abram and as an example for those who put their faith in him.
Luke 9:28-36. In Luke 9:22 that comes before this Sunday’s reading, Jesus predicts that he will “be killed and on the third day be raised.” In our Sunday’s reading Jesus, taking “Peter, John and James,” “went up the mountain to pray.” There Jesus was transfigured before them with his clothing becoming a “dazzling white.” Representing the Law and the prophets, Moses and Elijah “appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” I take exodus to mean his departure from human life in his offering himself up as a redemptive sacrifice for our sins. The apostles “saw his glory.” As Peter was speaking impetuously, “a cloud came and cast a shadow over them.” “Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “‘This is my chosen Son; listen to him.’ After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.” In the transfiguration, Jesus was preparing the Apostles for his passion, death and resurrection. Without denying his humanity, Jesus wanted to assert his divinity. After Jesus’ resurrection, the Apostles needed to grasp more definitively which the fact that Jesus was not only human but also God. The Son of God was sent by the Father to become flesh to be the divine living word spoken humanly in Jesus. The Father commands us: “Listen to him.” He was love made flesh sent to his children in the flesh, calling upon us to be likewise love in the flesh as Jesus was.
Despite the fact that we are in the flesh, our death on the cross is to die to carnal desires, overwhelming by the grace of God our earthy, animal, bodily temptations. His glory calls us to be and live as children of the divine, to be in the world but not of the world.
In Luke 11:29-32 those without faith demand a sign so that they must believe because the sign makes them believe. If one believes because they have seen, that is not faith but first-hand knowledge. Abram and the three Apostles were believers who were given a sign of the glory of God because of their belief, not because of their unbelief.
Philippians 3:17-4:1. For those who choose to live just as beings of this world with no regard to a life after this world, as in biological taxonomy ‘homo sapiens’, the highest species of animal in this world and nothing more, then “Their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is their ‘shame’. Their minds are occupied with earthly things.” 1 John 2:15 says: “Do not love the world or the things of the world.” For those of us who live in this world as people who are just passing through here, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” He will take us up into his home, heaven, which will be our final, real and permanent home. He will change our earthly body to be like his own heavenly body. 1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” This Sunday’s epistle reading continues: “He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body to bring all things into subjection to himself.” What a joy it is to belong to our glorious God and not to a world where eventually everything rots.