Herrenhuter readings for Sunday, the 25th January 2015

The Transfiguration of Christ

Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them. (Deuteronomy 11:16)

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Our Lord and God wants us to have eternal treasures, flourish forever and not suffer loss, decay or corruption whatsoever. That’s why he encourages us to take the long view and hold our heavenly heritage up high and the connection with him above all else. For he is the highest good and besides him there is no lasting peace, happiness or life that deserves that name. As his creatures we are construed in such a way that we will only find fulfilment and reach contentment and complete harmony and perfection in communion with him.

Yet we people are easily mislead. We are rather gullible and fall for the slightest temptation and alluring deception – especially if it seems a good idea, seems pleasant and promises enlightenment, progress and success. There are many angels of light drifting around, ensnaring people with promises of heaven on earth, immediate gratification and treasures beyond our wildest dreams. Those without gracious orientation, missing the firm anchor of God’s will and mandates and without his certain goal and destination easily fall into these traps.

Our Lord Jesus, whose Transfiguration we commemorate today, overcame these temptations by the archenemy and sly deceiver. He didn’t take the bait of a quick fix, nor did he tempt God and finally he did not fall down and worship the devil. All the treasures of this world and universe do not weigh up to the separation from the true and living God. The devil really has nothing to give. In the film “Passion of the Christ” Mel Gibson offers a glimpse into the gaping emptiness, utter loneliness and despair of hell. The devil promises all and keeps nothing. He’s the ultimate disappointment, whereas Jesus Christ is faithful and does, what he says. That’s why those angels came and served him. That’s why those ancient witnesses of the resurrection and eternal life: Moses and Elijah stood by him on the mount of Transfiguration. That’s why St. Peter voices the faith of those disciples: “You have words of life and we have recognised that you are the Son of the living God!” That’s why God himself opens up the heavens and proclaims: “This Jesus Christ is my beloved Son. Listen to him!”

So let’s go to Church, listen to him and partake in his most holy and precious gifts handed out to us from the altar and pulpit, praising him for all the good he has done for us and assured in the conviction that this foretaste will be amplified gloriously and graciously beyond anything we have witnessed here on earth in those heavenly realms, where he has prepared a place for us – peace beyond all understanding, joy and happiness without end and beholding him as he is. Amen. Hallelujah +

O wondrous type! O vision fair
of glory that the Church may share,
which Christ upon the mountain shows,
where brighter than the sun he glows!

The law and prophets there have place,
the chosen witnesses of grace;
the Father’s voice from our the cloud
proclaims his only Son aloud.

With shining face and bright array,
Christ deigns to manifest today
what glory shall be theirs above
who joy in God with perfect love.

And faithful hearts are raised on high
by this great vision’s mystery;
for which in joyful strains we raise
the voice of prayer, the hymns of praise.

O Father, with the eternal Son,
and Holy Spirit, ever One,
vouchsafe to bring us by thy grace
to see thy glory face to face.

Sarum Breviary, Salisbury 1495 tr John M. Neale 1818-1866

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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