Sunday, February 15, 2015

Elijah and the Transfiguration


Giuseppe Angeli Elijah Taken Up in a Chariot of Fire
c. 1740/1755 (nga.gov)
The 0830 Communion Service at church is increasingly well-attended: a combination of days getting longer and meeting for prayer 15 minutes before the service!

Today the readings were Elijah being taken up and Mark's account of the Transfiguration. Preacher made the point that this is begins the second half of Mark and follows immediately on from Peter's recognition of Jesus as the Messiah. Moses and Elijah of course represent the Law and the Prophets - also there is something slightly odd about Moses' death in that he was buried but no-one knows where.

The fire ascending of Elijah with "a double portion of his spirit" falling on Elisha is of course mirrored in the tongues of fire descending on the disciples at Pentecost. And (something that needs to be explained to English-speakers) Jesus and Joshua are same word: Moses leads Israel to the boundaries of the Promised Land but Joshua has to lead people through the Jordan into it - Jesus takes on where Moses and Elijah left off.  The motif of crossing the Jordan and then crossing it back is also echoed in Jesus' baptism where the voice from the cloud says something very similar to the voice at the Transfiguration.

As the preacher mentioned, the Greek word for "Transfiguration" is MetamorphE which is also the word Paul uses when he says that we must not be conformed to the world but transformed. "Changed from Glory into Glory" by the Spirit.

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