Today is one of the most spectacular days in the life of the church: Transfiguration Sunday! We spend a good amount of time celebrating how down-to earth-Jesus is (born in a stable, fought with his parents as a teen, but became a carpenter just like his dad after all, hung around with people of every walk of life, that sort of thing). And today’s story reminds us that Jesus also shimmers and shines. Like that friend who loves us just the way we are…but also wants us to become a better version of ourselves. Knows that we are worth the best version of ourselves– the world over!
On Transfiguration Sunday, it’s like we get this one visual glimpse of what’s possible when love triumphs over all the mess of our lives. Today we cherish the life of Connie Deyer, we receive the invitation from Avera friends to be in care for those who are ill, and we recognize the devastation of entire countries facing real-time conflict. All of this, as we receive Christ’s story of transfiguration as the gift it’s always been: God in the flesh, writing us a story of redemption with all that shimmers and shines within Jesus and within us. There has never been a better day to embrace the hope of Christ.
Luke 9: 28-36
28 Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30 Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. 34 While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 35 Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” 36 When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
The disciples kept silent about the bedazzled Christ until after his resurrection, when the pieces started slowly coming together. Even today, the idea that redemption is possible is just not easy to believe. So we keep telling these stories as signposts along the way- creating a cohesive narrative for our lives. And over 2000 years later, it’s still just sinking in. May the truth of Christ’s infinite love pierce your soul today, as we lift Christ’s love for Connie.
Words from siblings Dorothy & Pete
Connie was 7 yrs older than Pete, and 9 yrs older than Dorothy. She was a mother figure to us. We played cards and put jigsaw puzzles together. She lived in New Orleans, Nova Scotia, Seattle Washington, and Houston with her job. She was very bubbly when I called. Very inquisitive too. We went to the children museum to see how things worked. She also looked for blue stones in the floor at the capital. She donated her body to medical students, to honor our parents who were in WWII. Connie had a good sense of humor. We climbed onto the jackalope at Wall Drug, and sang with the big ape. She will be missed.
Personal Remarks from Connie's friends.
I noticed this week in Connie’s church directory photo, she made sure to wear her cross necklace. This was important to her, because it symbolized a blessing. In fact, the first time she asked for a blessing on this cross- it was Pastor Susan serving the church. Somewhere along the way, Connie misplaced the cross. When she found it, her first stop was to my office to ask for another blessing. Sometimes we need a visual reminder of the blessing that dwells within us, don’t we? I imagine you have your own version of Connie’s cross necklace. We all want to hear God’s voice, “This is my child, my chosen.”
So it was no surprise to me when Jeff called from Feigums to ask if I might honor Connie’s desire to receive a final blessing before her body was sent to USD for medical education. As I was praying over her lifeless body, I recalled as much as I knew about her wild and wonderful life. My tears that day affirmed not only how grateful I felt to have blessed Connie along her way, but also what a blessing she has been. What a blessing each of us holds in the vulnerable and honest parts of our souls.
I’d like for us to conclude today by remembering this: no matter what happens to us in this lifetime, we’ve never really lost the most blessed part of us- the glimmer of hope that is ours to behold in our coming moment of transfiguration. And no matter when that day comes for each of us, may we use this one broken and beautiful life we’ve been given to shine!
Rev. Emily Munger
delights in connecting sacred texts with everyday life.