It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Voice from the Cloud, a Reflection on Luke 9:34-36

Peter and the others witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus. They were there when Moses and Elijah suddenly appeared, these two figures so important in the history of their people, of the formation and molding of their faith.

Just as Moses and Elijah were leaving, Peter said to Jesus, "Let's make three dwellings--one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah. We suspect that Peter wanted to hold on to the moment so that they could revisit the experience. Or, we can suppose that he wanted to mark the place so that others coming after them could see where this event had happened.

While he was still speaking, a cloud came and overshadowed them, terrifying them. They had been able to see Jesus in a new way. They had been able to see Moses who had led the people to the Promised Land, and Elijah who had spoke the words of the Lord to the people facing exile. Now they could see no longer.

In their Preaching the Gospel, Allen & Williamson point out that a cloud is
a traditional Jewish way of representing the divine presence (see e.g., Exodus 13:21; 16:10; 19:9; 24:15-18; 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10-11; 18:44-45; Ezekiel 10:3-4; Psalm 18:11).

This loss of vision terrifies them. Then from the cloud comes a voice.

They could see things that no one had seen before. They could see nothing. Then they learn more.

A voice comes from the cloud announcing "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"

Luke tells us that they didn't immediately tell anyone what had happened.

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