Yr A ~ Transfiguration ~ 1 Cor 3:10-11, 15-23
Today is actually Transfiguration Sunday, and although I haven’t built the service around it I am going to start my message there. Transfiguration is one of my favourite gospel stories because it’s all about Jesus having an incredible mystical experience. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain to pray and while there he is transfigured, transformed, his face is aglow, his clothes become a dazzling white, and Moses and Elijah appear alongside him. It’s a movie special effects team’s dream! All that’s missing is the chorus of angels chanting and the fog machine chugging away.
You can imagine the three disciples falling to their knees in wonderment and awe trying to understand what they’re seeing. And you can sympathize with poor impulsive Peter who blurts out “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Mt 17:4)
That’s the piece I want us to think about. It seems to be hard wired into us that when we have a profound spiritual experience we want to build a church on the spot to commemorate it. Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all built altars where God appeared to them. Moses had a tent that they travelled with where God hung out. David wanted to build a temple but God told him no, and then David’s son Solomon came along and did it anyway.
We say that we can experience God anywhere, and that’s absolutely true, but we also have this instinct to build temples and churches for that specific purpose. There’s nothing wrong with building churches. I’m pro-church! I love churches. But I don’t love that too often the church building becomes the thing instead of the thing that helps us experience the real thing! read on