06 February 2011

Next Sunday

those of us using the one year lectionary will celebrate the Transfiguration.  This Feast is observed by the lion's share of the Church on August 6th, but already at the time of the Reformation, some Lutherans began to move it to the last Sunday in Epiphany - thus the Epiphany season (a green season), is inaugurated with a white feast (Epiphany of our Lord) and crowned with a white feast at its conclusion (Transfiguration).  This is the time of year when things are most confusing to our lay folk visiting around in other churches, for in the parishes employing the one year lectionary, the Transfiguration falls three weeks earlier than it does in the three-year lectionary parishes, due to the loss of Pre-Lent (Gesimatide) in the three year revisions.

I always feel the loss of Pre-Lent is a sad thing.  The readings in the historic cycle are incomparably helpful in moving you toward intentionally embracing the Lenten disciplines in a right spirit.  Some have decried this little season as "more Lent" - but according to our rubrics in LSB, the only "Lenty" thing about it is the loss of the Alleluia and its replacement with the longer Tract.  Pre-Lent is to Lent what preparing for a journey is to the journey itself.  If Lent is the journey toward the Paschal Mystery - our Lord's passing through death into resurrection and the Age to come - then Pre-Lent is all about getting ready to make that journey.

The feast of the Transfiguration on the borderland between Epiphany and Lent reminds us that our Lord headed down the mountain toward that Exodus He would accomplish in Jerusalem.  We will travel with Him, but Transfiguration reminds us that no matter what we will behold happen to Him on that journey, He is the Father's beloved Son, to whom we must listen. This is true when His glory seems most hidden - yet it is in fact the moment when it is most revealed - as He hangs upon the cross in the utter darkness.  Into that darkness of death He is preparing to bring the light of Transfiguration, and when He shines it into death, death itself is shattered, destroyed, changed forever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A bonus in the 3 year lectionary is
that Epiphany season is longer and
gives our laity an opportunity to
hear more of the miracles of Christ.
His divine nature needs to be part
our understanding His public ministry
and this happens as we proclaim that
He is the Son of God. Through His
miracles Christ led people to faith
in Him and proved He was the promised
Messiah of the Old Testament. All of
this is prelude to the crucified
and resurrected Christ.