Visit our new site at

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings~~It's almost Lent, it must be t-fig edition

It's that time again: the Last Sunday after Epiphany, the Sunday before Lent begins and that can only mean one thing~~the transfiguration is sure to be among our readings, which can be found here. Does the story of Jesus' mountaintop experience illuminate the beginning of Lent for you, or are you (as I confess I am) a bit weary of this tale, coming as it does every year at this time?

The glory of God is revealed in our OT reading as well as we find Elijah and Elisha traveling together to the spot Elijah will be taken up into heaven. Will Elijah's and Elisha's journey together be a jumping off point for you as you look forward to beginning the journey through Lent?

The epistle from Paul's second letter to the Corinthians carries on with the theme of light revealing the glory of God as we conclude this season of Epiphany. Where do you find your inspiration this week, preachers? Are you on the mountaintop withe Jesus, traveling with Elijah and Elisha, or even off lectionary? Check in and let us know~~comments are open.

And Happy Valentine's Day, if you are inclined to celebrate; there are red hot hearts and chocolate kisses for all


  1. I am sick and tired of trying to figure out new ways every year to preach about T'fig to a multi-age congregation. Anyone have a great new idea for me?Please??

  2. My title is "Overwhelmed by Glory, Overwhelmed by Grime." To be a Jesus-follower means that there will be times of being overwhelmed-times when when we don't understand, times when we don't know what to do or say, times that push us to our limits and beyond. Both the glory of God on the mountain and the need of the world in the valley can be bigger than we can manage.

    No one likes to feel overwhelmed because we like to have control. But part of what it means to be a Jesus-follower, a disciple, is to learn to trust a God who is beyond our control. Grace, faith, love only become real for us when we are overwhelmed, in over our heads.

    So...what are the benefits of finding ourselves so terrified by where Jesus leads us that we can't think straight? What can we learn when the demons are too big for us? And where is God in all this?

    This is the transition sermon for my Lenten series, "OVERWHELMED!" but it could easily stand alone.

  3. I think I'm going to focus on "the company of prophets" that pop up through 1 and 2 Kings. We have a funeral of an elderly saint on Saturday, and it seems like a good time to ask what it means (or would mean) to surround ourselves with people who listen for God's will and speak God's words. What would happen if the church was a school for truth-tellers?

  4. ...oops...scroll down to read the sermon on the above link.

  5. I am starting by asking what we feel like when God's presence is revealed iin our midst. And then asking how that experience changes us (or should that be "if")?

    My early thoughts are here

  6. Pastor Cheri, I absolutely love your direction. Love it! You've got me reconsidering what I was thinking about.

    I'm one who gets really tired of this transition Sundays, although I have a MUCH harder time with Trinity and Christ the King. I like stories, not ideas, so at least in Baptism of Jesus and T-fig I have stories with which to work.

    Anyway, this year since my Lent is going in a slightly different direction (still need a good tag line description), I'm sort of thinking about making this coming Sunday more of the tradition Shrovetide - a time of confession. I get that Ash Wednesday does that for us most years, but well, for one we don't get a huge turnout for Ash Wednesday, and two, I think if I do Shrovetide on Sunday and get folks thinking about where in their lives God is calling them to make changes on Sunday by Wednesday they'll have an idea of how they will respond to an invitation to Lenten discipline.

    I think I might offer this Sunday's worship as a service of healing and wholeness, inviting people to examine particularly the parts of their relationship with God that need healing and wholeness, but also invite for prayer those seeking other kinds.

    I've laid out some challenging sermons about where and how we follow God who is at work in the world, and I think this week could be a good time to offer up the ways we DON'T do that, moving into Lent when I will offer spiritual disciplines and practices that give us tools as disciples to do it.

    Pastor Cheri, your thoughts about being overwhelmed may fit in this all very well. VERY well, so maybe I'll still use the T-fig Scripture as a part of it all.

    That's what I'm thinking now anyway. Three years ago, in this lectionary cycle I worked with the Kings passage. If I remember well, I kind of liked it.

  7. Betsy--I once did a children's sermon on transfiguration using Clark Kent/Superman. Honestly, I don't remember what I did exactly, but I have pictures in my file for this Sunday! I must have done something about how we don't always recognize someone (God) but that doesn't mean that isn't who they are. Maybe? I don't know--perhaps it'll be an entry for you.

    For me--not sure what I'm doing. I'm thinking it'll be sustainable sermon simply because what is left yet this week. Most of my time is taken with other things--some church, some personal, but think a sustainable sermon is better than a poorly executed/written one.

    Also, no one will be listening to me. They'll all be anxiously awaiting our "Chocolate Fest." For fellowship time on the last Sunday before Lent, everyone (!)brings in chocolate desserts. And we eat way too much chocolate and sugar in preparation for giving it up during Lent. (Though some of us don't actually give up chocolate for Lent...)

  8. Mark's version of t-fig, for me, is about Jesus' identity (who do you say that I am--right before this) and authority. Right at the middle of the gospel. God says "listen to him!" and Mark wants to make sure we do.
    But the things he is saying are hard to hear.
    I love this week each year because it helps me get ready to live into those difficult questions of Lent.

    Last year, I preached about how we always seem to talk about "mountain top" experiences as good things. But sometimes does the mountain top feel more like the edge of a cliff? Is that what this mountain top was? You can see why the disciples didn't want to walk down that path--to death, betrayal, and loss.
    (That sermon is
    Good luck

  9. Sorry. The sermon is at that link above, but is buried down the page. "Face to Face" is the title.
    Here's another link.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Hi,
    I am going with the other lectionary reading, Mark 2, and skipping Transfig this year. I love the reading, but Mark 2 reading fits with last week's sermon. I am wondering about all the people in the house getting covered in dirt as they dug into the roof. But think I will preach on the reaction of the Pharisees, and the link between illness and sin.

    for those doing T-fig, there is a lovely Fulghum story, which I thought I had used here and now can't find in my files. it is here

    time for a latish breakfast.

  12. Don't worry. I have been an Episcopalian since I was 19 years old. I am now 76. How many Transfiguration sermons have I heard? I do not know, but I can tell you this: Last year was the first time I really remember what was said. I was so impressed that I am anxiously awaiting Sunday's sermon. I teach an Adult Bible class at my church now, so that is why I happened to see this. We will be studying the Transfiguration no matter what.

    Never fear, there is always a first time for the people in the pews. Whatever you preach will be new for somebody!

  13. Thank you, Anonymous!
    I just realized I did not do T-Fig last year (long story), so this will be my first time preaching about it in my current setting. Now I'm excited to do it!
    Two things captivate me. First, God says "Listen to Him!" -- so, listen to Jesus as opposed to Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets? Second, in the 2 Kings passage, I love the idea that in these different places there was "the company of prophets." You would think I had never read it before. They are on my mind. How big a company? What in the world did they do with themselves? Fifty go along with Elijah and Elisha. Are they a combination? A subset? Suppose our churches were each a company of prophets? What would that look like?

  14. Yes, Martha. And the "listen to him!" instruction also makes it clear that the disciples aren't overhearing a conversation between God and Jesus. God is talking to them!

    Since transfiguration is metamorphosis in Greek, I might do a caterpillar to butterfly story for the Time with the Children. Get them thinking of what it would be like to really be changed--not just to change their clothes. I don't know. Other thoughts?


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.