RCL Year B Last Epiphany
II Kings 2:1-12, Psalm 50:1-6, II Corinthians 4:3-6, Saint Mark 9:2-9

Around small children, some words are better left unsaid. I don’t mean bad words, but words like “cookie,” “candy,” and “cake.” The youngsters will stop eating their dinners and hold out for what they think is coming. The word “later” just doesn’t have the same effect as “cookie.” They want the dessert now. They no longer want to eat the main course and the vegetables and the salad.

All of this compares very favorably with Jesus, his Transfiguration, and the Christian life, believe it or not. Because the salvation Jesus opens to us awaits us, just like the dessert the children want so badly. But, if we start with the dessert, we may miss the mark entirely. If we start with dessert, it’s as though we don’t have an obligation to believe everything we should believe. If we grasp salvation now it’s as though we’ve declined to serve and to minister to each other as we should. If we start with dessert, it’s as though we’re looking for escape, or instant satisfaction, or a way to evade the anxieties of life. But what we really need to do is to live life as Christ would have us live it. He gives us what we need.

We look to Christ for dessert, and he gives us a full meal, everything we need. We look for salvation, and he gives us a cross. We look for Easter, and he gives us Lent.

A full meal, a cross, and Lent, they are what he gives us, because they are what we need to live the life he wants us to live. They are the instruments, they are the means we need and we use to get where we are going. They lead to dessert. They lead to salvation. They lead to Easter.

But today, we’re given a little taste, a half of a piece of candy, if you will. We’re given in the Gospel a look at the Transfigured Jesus, a brief look at glory’s transforming and illuminating power. And we can freely choose the things we really need. We ourselves can act like adults, mature people and Christians. With important and adult things, we can act like mature people. In the very matter of our life and our salvation, we have the opportunity to act as maturely as we think our children should act.