Each of the three Synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) describes a scene where Jesus takes the disciples Peter, James, and John up on a mountaintop where they experience a mystical event—Jesus’ metamorphosis into a spiritual being, accompanied by the spiritual presence of the Hebrew prophets Moses and Elijah.
As the story goes, Peter—always the most impetuous of Jesus’ followers—immediately wants to construct a worship facility (in Hebrew parlance, it was three “tents” or tabernacles…one each for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah) in order to dwell in what was almost certainly a euphoric moment.
While we don’t get much in the way of details from the gospel writers, the experience seems to have lasted only a short time. As soon as it ends, Jesus hurries his followers back down the mountain, telling them to keep quiet about what they’ve just experienced. There they encounter a young boy experiencing seizures, and Jesus heals him.
Which might prompt us to wonder why Peter wanted to prolong the experience in the first place and why Jesus not only moves on quickly, but doesn’t want his friends to talk about it.
Which raises a couple of important questions: What if the decline in church participation today is at least partly rooted in an over-emphasis on worship? And how do we mark our own encounters with and experience of the divine not by dwelling in them, but by moving away from them?
This week at New Wineskins, we’ll observe Transfiguration Sunday through the lens of deconstruction by considering the importance of leaving the mountaintop and finding where people are most in need in the proverbial valley.
Our discussion video from The Work of the People features pastor and community organizer Aaron Edwards unpacking what the transfiguration story may have to teach us about the nature of worship and the church.
Please join us this Sunday, Feb. 19, in the New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub powered by Zoom for a “Deconstructing Liturgy” look at the Transfiguration and how the real work of transformation—in fact, perhaps, the real presence of the divine—shows up once we leave the mountaintop.
Click here to view this week’s discussion video “Transfigured” with Aaron Edwards
6:00pm EDT: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EDT: Presentation & conversation begin
Join us for Lent with Justice & Jubilee!
We’re excited to be conspiring again with our friends at Justice & Jubilee for the upcoming season of Lent!
Every week during Lent, Justice and Jubilee will host their regular YouTube live premier at 5:30pm (Eastern Time) and invite participants to join us for Happy Half-Hour from 6:00-6:30pmET for a time of conversation and community.
We’ll then hold our regular 6:30pmET discussion focused on how we might look at the J&J topic through the lens of deconstruction, seeking to find deeper, perhaps unexpected meanings that inform our collective justice & liberation work.
Stay tuned for a special post next week outlining the schedule for our Lenten gatherings! If you haven’t already signed up for our weekly email newsletter, now would be a great time to do it so you don’t miss any of this cool collaboration!
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