I’m very excited to tell you that this Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday, the Sunday we remember Jesus’ conversation on a mountaintop with Moses and Elijah, a conversation so filled with holiness it reduced Peter to a gibbering mess and James and John to complete silence. It’s the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on March 3rd, which means it’s the last Sunday before Lent. But around here, we call it Domingo Gordo, or Fat Sunday.
This means we are going to party like they do in the Gospel According to St. Luke (which we are reading this year, and which is filled with parties). It means that we are going to have parade in church. We are going to sing a bunch of revival hymns and spirituals, and we ‘re going to have horns and a four-handed Joplin postlude. We are going to bury the alleluias for Lent so we can swoop them out at Easter. It means that we are going to have wonderful potluck after church (so don’t forget to bring a dish to share). It means that after church we are going to burn last year’s palms in the garden to make the ash for Ash Wednesday.
Like I said—we are going to party like it’s the Lord’s Supper, because it is.
But this is a party of preparation. A goodbye party—or maybe a wedding reception. It’s the kind of party we celebrate because things aren’t going to the be same as before. Not that before wasn’t good—it’s just the what comes next is something God will give us. After the glory of Moses and Elijah, it’s tempting to want to stay. But God tells the three disciples, “This is my Son, my chosen; listen to him!” And they follow Jesus down the mountain into the valley, the valley of the shadow of death. They follow him up to the cross, but then flee. They think the party is over, the fun gone. But they have no idea of the glory prepared for them. Because, when they see Jesus alive, with his wounds and his healing breath, everything they knew up till then they left behind. What came was greater than they could imagine. And so that’s what we celebrate—not the giving up of chocolate for Lent, but the passage from death into life.
That deserves a party.
We also will be welcoming our Wayfarers, people who want to affirm their baptisms and join our congregation. If you can make it, you’ll see them as we bless them for their own time of preparation and spiritual introspection during Lent. We will surround them in blessing and in prayer and in celebration.
Church is a beautiful thing, and we’re looking forward to welcoming you at the celebration around Christ’s table. He has prepared it, as some of our member say, especially for you.