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sermon resources for february 19, 2012 [Transfiguration B]

sermon and preaching resources2 Kings 1:1-12

The story borrows some themes from Moses’ life (parting of water, geographic region of Moses’ death), thus linking Elijah with the Great Ones of the faith (which would be some fun linking for the Gospel reading, too).

If I were to use this text for preaching this week, I’d lift up the idea of how we train up those who come after us. The “double share” language is inheritance and estate language—a double share being two-thirds. It takes disciples to make disciples. How are you and I passing on our discipleship to those who come after us, and what kind of spiritual inheritance are we leaving them?

2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Much like the Gospel reading, Paul suggests that we have trouble seeing the light and truth of Christ because of too many distractions—or in the language of the Gospel, too many voices drown out our capacity to listen for Jesus.

I am also reminded of Luther’s Deus Absconditus—the “Hidden God.” Carroll Cambell is an educator. He says to get a group of children in a room with a light fixture hanging just out of grasp. One child will jump to touch it, and before you know it, every kid in the room will be leaping to try and touch it. Put the same children in a room where everything is easily in reach, and there will be no jumping. Could part of the “blinding” be part of God’s intentional hiddeness—that were God too easily within reach we’d never stretch ourselves into a transformed life?...

Mark 9:2-9

I am struck by the “Listen to him” bit of this passage this year (Transfiguration Sunday comes around each year and I always feel pressured to find some new way to preach it—excuse any liberties I may take to meet that pressure). More precisely, I note the context of this “command” from God. It follows Jesus telling his followers about his impending crucifixion and about their role—that they, too, must be willing to take up their cross and be willing to lose their lives for the sake of finding their lives.

Up on the mountain, Peter wanted to stay (building booths). I’d pick that, too, over crucifixion and losing my life to find it. Peter didn’t to a good job of listening to Jesus when he was giving sorrowful instructions. We don’t either. Many of us can probably tell stories of friends who don’t listen well in the hard times; they would rather isolate themselves up on the mountain. This could be a great Sunday to talk about how we listen for God’s guidance particularly when it is something hard for us to hear.

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