The Revelation of God’s Glory
Collect: The Last Sunday after the Epiphany
O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
Exodus 24:12-18 . . . Moses encounters God on Mount Sinai
The cloud is a physical manifestation of the Lord’s presence. Moses spent six days in the cloud before the Lord calls him. He then spends 40 days and 40 nights on that same mountain where he encountered the Lord and the burning bush and got his original call.
The Psalms provide the opportunity for the worshiper to put one’s self in the picture, make the psalm our personal response to situations.
Psalm 2 . . . Situation 1: Struggle on the World’s Stage
Note these last three verses of this contemporary interpretation:
10) So listen well you rulers of the people, be wise pay heed to what you hear.
11) Learn service to the God of earth and heaven, in humility and awe draw close, come near.
12) Instead of fury, anger, fear and wrath, know blessedness, learn to live as a refuge of God.
Psalm 99 . . . Situation 2: Sovereign of the Universe
Another three verses:
7) And from the pillar to the clouds on high you shaped the words they heard and grew competent to understand and do.
8) There was no doubt for them it was your words which spoke, and your forgiveness flowed to heal the inflicted for their evil deeds.
9) So it is your greatness God, that we proclaim, for you exist upon the sacred mountains of the transcendent being, And gathering now before that vast and mighty range, we worship, and in awe we honor you, O Holy One.
2 Peter 1:16-21 . . . Peter testifies to the amazing events of Jesus’ glorious transfiguration. This letter is to be taken as the actual voice of the Holy Spirit speaking directly to us.
Matthew 17:1-9 . . . Three of Jesus’ disciples witness Jesus’ radiance and hear the voice of God. Once the disciples know who he truly is, Jesus begins to tell them of his impending death and resurrection. He then calls them to take up their cross and follow him down that road of suffering and vindication. All this happened before the mountain top experience, where Peter, James and John can see the transfiguration first hand.
Note the cloud, the presence of God again.
This sermon brings to mind the scripture verse most present for me these days: Isaiah 49: 6b — I give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.