Lectionary: Transfiguration Sunday
Sermon text: 2 Kings 2:1-12
Excerpt: The process of transformation has always fascinated me. The process of something becoming something else. Of that little fish we call a tadpole becoming a frog. Of that icky caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Of, well, robots that turn into cars. Transformation is fascinating.
Today is Transfiguration Sunday, and “transfiguration” basically means the same as “transformation.” It is to change appearance. And specifically we link this to Peter, James and John seeing Jesus glorified, seeing Jesus in His glorified body before His crucifixion and resurrection.
We also associate this with other events in the Bible in which someone is exalted. The passage we read from 2 Kings this morning is Elijah being taken away in a fiery chariot, in a whirlwind up into heaven. And certainly, that’s a pretty dramatic change, to be walking along the road and to be snatched up and gone. There’s only two people in the Bible that happened to, and Elijah’s the only one we get any details about. The other is Enoch, seventh in line from Adam, in Genesis where, after line after line of “and he died,” “and he died,” “and he died,” you get Enoch saying, “and he was not, for God took him.” So Enoch and Elijah are special cases.
But I really think that in the story of Elijah being taken up into heaven, the important figure, the one who is really going through transformation, is not Elijah. It’s his sidekick, Elisha, his apprentice, Elisha.