In the transfiguration we have the second of three panels in an artwork on the impact of Jesus. The second is a hinge between the first, the baptism of Jesus, and the third, his crucifixion and resurrection.

We could set up three canvases in prominent positions, label the first and third early and the second during the reading from Mark. After the reading paint the second teasing out things to be included from the congregation. Paint the first next week in the same way and save the third for Good Friday/Easter.

In the transfiguration we travel from ordinary life, up an ordinary mountain, through an extraordinary experience, and back down the ordinary mountain to an ordinary life tinged with the colour of death yet suffused with the possibility of something beyond ordinary. We like Peter are tempted to stay in the moment, to capture the extraordinary experience. We, like him, can’t put into words the moment of the extraordinary in our lives. We attempt to control, we attempt to make rational sense, we question. All of these are good things in their own way, but they can distract us and prevent us from seeing the ways in which God speaks in the ordinary things of life.

In each of the readings the manifestation of God to us through light is prominent. With each of the readings we could emphasise the theme of light in the lighting of candles or spotlights until we have a tableau to the spirituality of light akin to the setting of a Taize service. We could also explore the images of fire, veiling, blinding, a light shining in darkness, and the play between dazzling white and an overshadowing cloud for in the same way as other descriptions of the way God comes to us this story of light is also not complete as God also comes to us in darkness. Maybe extinguishing the candles and turning off the lights can bring us to that reality.

Graham Booth

Lay Preacher