Preparing for Change

Mark 9:2-9

Sermon Preparing for Change

Good morning. I have a question for you. What was your favorite time in your life? I’m not thinking of a particular moment, like a wedding day or the birth of your first child. I’m thinking of a longer period of time, a season, if you will. Perhaps it was high school or college. Or maybe it was when your kids were young. Or maybe it was when your kids finally moved out of the house.

For much of my life, that season was college. I spent most of my twenties wishing I were still in college with all my fraternity brothers. My senior year was the most enjoyable of all; I had finally figured out how balance school work and my social life and it was so satisfying.

When I graduated, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. I felt like I had come into my own. I felt so alive when I was in college. I had found my tribe. But there was also something bittersweet about that moment. Graduation meant that my time at that place was over. I had to go home. I had to go back into the world. I had climbed a small mountain in college. After four years of climbing, I reached the top, and then I had to come down.

Maybe that’s why I love the story of the transfiguration so much—that was the story we heard in our reading from the Gospel of Mark. We hear this story every year; it marks the turn of the seasons in the liturgical calendar. Today is the last Sunday in the season of Epiphany. Later this week, we’ll celebrate Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.

Honestly, it feels a little weird to go from the transfiguration into Lent. We go from the ultimate Epiphany—the disciples Peter, James, and John learn Jesus’ true identity—to a period of introspection and self-examination. It would seem like we should all be shouting about Jesus, but instead, we have to turn inward; we have to focus on the events that lead to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.