Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.Our preacher pointed out that this, or one of the other versions, usually appears on the Sunday calendar immediately before Lent. I have to wonder why.
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. Mark 9:2-9 (NRSV)
Clearly, the Transfiguration occurs before Jesus' death and is so placed in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but the witnesses were to keep it all a secret.
It seems likely that people, perhaps even the other disciples, would have doubted the testimony of Peter, James, and John until the presence of the resurrected Jesus in their midst proved the Transfiguration account to be true.
Why not recount the story of the Transfiguration after Easter in the modern Church calendar? Wouldn't that have more of an impact on us pewsitters? After all, Peter, James, and John were ordered not to talk about it until after Jesus' Resurrection, so why should we be talking about it now?
Wouldn't it be good to hear this story when the Resurrection is fresh on our minds?
What about those today who doubt the witness of the Gospels? Don't forget, there are many who wish to treat the empty tomb as "irrelevant" (Marcus Borg) and better understood as a metaphor for our continuing life with Christ. Can one accept today's story of the Transfiguration as a real, historical event if one has not accepted the fact that Jesus' body really rose from the grave?
Alas, it appears that our Presiding Bishop has fallen under the spell of the metaphor and can't speak of the real Resurrection in her most recent Lenten letter which she concludes with,
"I wish you a blessed Lent and a joyful resurrection at the end of it that may be shared with others around the world."
To Schori, and to the rest of the sceptics, Christianity is all about the here and now, a resurrection of the self, which unfortunately gives us a resurrection with a small "r".
No cross, no crown.
It may sound backwards but, no Resurrection, no Transfiguration.