Saturday, February 25, 2017
Our gospel readings for the First and the Last Sundays of the Epiphany Season are grand epiphanies, even theophanies (God showing himself), in which God himself speaks and is heard, not just sensed as in “surely the presence of the Lord is in this place, I can feel his mighty power and his grace,” but God speaking and being heard, First Mt 3:17 at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, and Last Mt 17:5 at Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountaintop, sound waves of God's voice, The Word piercing the silence like thunder, and people witnessing, hearing as their eardrums vibrate,
Mt 17:5 Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός
Mt 3:17 Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός
literally, out of proper English syntax,
“this is the son my the beloved”
“this is the son my the beloved”
most correctly, “this is my Son, the beloved.”
most memorable, “this is my beloved Son.”
The theological implications can be interesting, especially when slightly expanded on by wandering off into the synoptics. In Matthew the Voice speaking to everyone present. In Mark (the supposed earliest of the three) and Luke 3:22, the Voice speaking only to Jesus, “Σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός” “You are my beloved Son,” which, at least for Mark, but not for Luke with his added nativity narrative and his Luke-only story of Jesus in the Jerusalem temple at age twelve, plays into the question “when did Jesus become the Son of God?” Plus for Mark the progression of the so-called “markan secret” or “messianic secret” agenda (who knew, when? first God, then Mark, then you the reader, then Jesus, then the demons, finally the centurion, but frustratingly apparently never the disciples). But becomes contradictory over against Luke’s nativity narrative with the ancient textual variation (Luke’s original?) in which Luke has God quoting from Psalm 2:7, “Thou art my beloved Son; this day have I begotten thee” at Jesus’s baptism in Luke.
See, this is the, current slang is “rabbit hole” but I prefer the brambles, where my brain twists off down into, such that I come out of it having been intrigued but having completely forgot that the original task I had set for myself was to write a sermon. If I were doing that for tomorrow (which I’m not, I’m on sabbatical, don’t look for me), I would have a decent Sunday School lesson to discuss, but nothing homiletical.
Anyway. Regardless. The four lessons for tomorrow, Last Epiphany, Year A, fit together beautifully, have a look:
The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.”
Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.
Psalm 2 Quare fremuerunt gentes?
1 Why are the nations in an uproar? *
Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?
2 Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt, and the princes plot together, *
against the LORD and against his Anointed?
3 "Let us break their yoke," they say; *
"let us cast off their bonds from us."
4 He whose throne is in heaven is laughing; *
the Lord has them in derision.
5 Then he speaks to them in his wrath, *
and his rage fills them with terror.
6 "I myself have set my king *
upon my holy hill of Zion."
7 Let me announce the decree of the LORD: *
he said to me, "You are my Son;
this day have I begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for
your inheritance *
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
9 You shall crush them with an iron rod *
and shatter them like a piece of pottery."
10 And now, you kings, be wise; *
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Submit to the LORD with fear, *
and with trembling bow before him;
12 Lest he be angry and you perish; *
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
13 Happy are they all *
who take refuge in him!
2 Peter 1:16-21
We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.
So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Not to mention that calling The Voice from heaven "The Word" brings into the theological discussion the prologue to the Gospel according to John, how can The Word simultaneously speak from heaven as God and stand there in the river being baptized as Man?
Pics from 7H: Saturday sunrise, Saturday sunrise a few minutes later, black cat (he/she is a skittish resident of Harbour Village) tail twitchingly eyeing ducks diving for breakfast just offshore.
Posted by Tom Weller at 7:23 AM