Episode 52: Happy Anniversary or Last  Epiphany/ Transfiguration, Year A


For Sunday March 2, Last Sunday After Epiphany and Transfiguration Sunday, Year A

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SHOW NOTES -  3/2/2014

Episode 52: Happy Anniversary or Last Sunday after Epiphany, Transfiguration Sunday, Year A

Opening Music: The Anniversary Song from The Flintstones

For Sunday, March 2, 2014

Episode 52
Welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, where two local pastors discuss the lectionary reading for the week. When I was 33, it was a very good year for small town pastors and with music usage rights, and 500 views a night.  This is episode 52 for Sunday March 2, the last Sunday after Epiphany and Transfiguration Sunday, Year A, and we are hoping for another very good year.


Primary Scripture - Matthew 17:1-9 - The Transfiguration

  • Initial thoughts
    • End of Epiphany
    • Complete transformation - how has the promise of Christmas transformed you? Are you prepared for Lent?
    • The ordinary made extraordinary
      • F Buechner: “Even with us something like that happens once in a while. The face of a man walking with his child in the park, of a woman baking bread, of sometimes even the unlikeliest person listening to a concert, say, or standing barefoot in the sand watching the waves roll in, or just having a beer at a Saturday baseball game in July. Every once and so often, something so touching, so incandescent, so alive transfigures the human face that it's almost beyond bearing.”
  • Bible Study
    • Timing
      • Marks the end of Epiphany
      • Leads into Lent
      • Foreshadows Holy Week and Easter
      • Six days later - similar to the six days the cloud of God rested on Sinai before speaking to Moses and Joshua (Exodus 24:16-18)
    • Peter’s Response:
      • Peter wants to hold onto the moment
        • He does not want to go to the inevitable end (see Mt 16:21-23)
        • He wants to stay on the mountaintop
      • Appropriate cultic response - similar to the Festival of Tabernacles
        • Peter is showing hospitality and welcome
      • Peter needs to “do” something
        • Peter cannot simply “be” in the moment but feels the need to react, to respond, to do instead of simply being fully present in the Holy moment
        • This Holy moment was awe-some, frightening and overwhelming
        • Can we simply be in the moment?
    • God’s Voice
      • Echoes the baptism
      • Interrupts Peter
      • Adds: “Listen to him!”
    • Aftermath
      • After the guests have left, after the skies have darkened, after the Messiah in dazzling white is gone, we are not alone - Jesus, our friend and fellow traveler stays with us, reassures us and leads us on our journey.
      • Jesus is with us on the Mountaintop, but he is also with us when we go back into the valleys of life
      • Even though Jesus is transfigured- he still is going to his death- this hasn’t changed that
    • Transfiguration of Peter by David Lose
      • We are all called
      • Confessing Jesus as Messiah and understanding what that means are very different.
      • Peter confessed, perhaps now he better understands
  • Preaching Thoughts and Questions:
    • Ritual is important, but should be rooted in a holy moment and the words of Jesus
    • How do we practice Holy Listening? - Centering Prayer
    • The Mountaintop experiences give us the strength to go back into the valley - to free the oppressed, proclaim good news to the poor, sight to the blind and the coming of God’s Kingdom confident that Jesus is with us.
      • Is the purpose of worship to have a mountaintop experience or as encouragement in the valley? Or both?
    • Can we be content in the mystery of the Transfiguration? Or must we, like Peter, demand comprehension so that we know how to respond?

Transition Music - "Mark This Place", by Bryan Sirchio

Secondary scripture - 2 Peter 1:16-21 - Peter’s witness

  • Initial thoughts
    • The “clearly devised myth” that Peter is speaking of is the parousia - the coming of Christ.
      • The early church suffered a crisis when the parousia was delayed.  This letter was written as an encouragement for those troubled by the delay.
      • Holds onto the promise of the coming, in face of ‘false teachers’ who are starting to say it will never happen.
    • Probably not written by Peter.  Most scholars date between 90-110
      • Some authorship issues discussed by Dwight Peterson on Working Preacher.
      • This article on the conservative website Bible.org comes to the conclusion that 2 Peter was written by Peter, but does a pretty thurough job laying out the argument.  It also does a nice job outlining some of the controversy surrounding including it in the cannon at all. In the end it basically concludes, It says it was written by Peter, and the Bible is true, so that must be true.
  • Bible Study
    • Peter as eyewitness, not just a teller of stories
      • Eyewitness to the transfiguration.
      • Also heard God’s own testimony about Jesus.
      • Faith is rooted in a real experience with God, not just the teaching of ‘experts.’
    • Assurance that testimony of the prophets is true
      • Troublesome passage about interpretation
      • I once had a conversation with a more conservative Christian.  In it, I said something like, “I think we have very different ways of interpreting Scripture,” and her response was, “I never interpret Scripture.”
      • We interpret Scripture whenever we take meaning from it.  It is impossible to avoid interpreting Scripture.
      • CEB makes this a little more clear - that the prophecy that is written comes inspired by God.  This is about authorship, not readership.
      • There are still issues about authorship (for instance, this particular letter).
  • Preaching Thoughts and Questions:
    • The heart of 2 Peter is about authority. Where do you place authority?
      • What do you mean by authority of Scripture?
    • The author claims authority in Christ as an eyewitness, not as second-hand.
      • To what have you been an eyewitness?
    • When you imagine a possibility
    • As we turn from Epiphany to Lent, we can reflect on the many ways that God is revealed to us.  
      • What is the dream of Epiphany that God has revealed to us?
      • What is the way of life that God dreams for us?
        • What is the way of Christ?  What would such a world look like?  
        • Before the world is shattered by Lent, Sin, and the like, lets not take a moment to dream God’s dream of what might have been or of what could be.  Let us dream God’s dream about what will be.

Transition Music - Closing: “Dream God’s Dream,” by Bryan Sirchio


Shout outs:  

  • David Henson, co-host of a great new Progressive Christian podcast called “Moonshine Jesus” wished us luck in our quest to crack the top 200 on iTunes.
  • James Buckley, who commented on Facebook and gave us a heads up for a possible author interview.
  • Jeff Lukens @tourguidepastor finally listened to the closing song, and liked it!

Thank you for joining us for another episode of The Pulpit Fiction!
Our opening music was the Happy Anniversary Song from The Flintstones.
Our featured musician this week was Bryan Sirchio. We played two his songs: "Mark This Place" and “Dream God’s Dream”. from his album Something Beautiful For God. You can find out more about Bryan’s Sirchio and his music at www.sirchio.com.
Our theme music is Misirlou by Dick Dale and the Del Tones and our closing music is “Oh No” by Paul & Storm.