Seven years ago, just after I arrived at St. John’s, I was asked to lead worship at a monthly luncheon for our seniors who were unable to attend church on Sundays, at an event called Lunch Bunch. As a deacon, I was unable to preside at Eucharist, as previously held during Lunch Bunch gatherings. But I was able to assure the group that, in the absence of a priest, The Order of Service for Noonday (BCP, pp. 103-108) would suffice. And it did, for several years.
More recently, Father Ken Toven has provided Eucharist at Lunch Bunch. Through both of our tenures, it has become a fixture of our Lunch Bunch worship to include a homily based on the appointed saint for that day, taken from the book The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and Fasts (2006, Church Publishing).
It has been months now since the Lunch Bunch group has been able to gather. During this interim, longtime Lunch Bunch attendee and much longer-time member of St. John’s, Justine Boldine, has recently passed on. Regrettably, Justine’s life and legacy cannot yet be observed at a Lunch Bunch gathering, and so with utmost respect I offer this reflection, this Homily for Lunch Bunch, from the Lesser Feasts and Fasts Proper for today, August 6.
Today’s Proper is not about a specific saint. It uniquely reflects an event – The Transfiguration of Our Lord – the story that begins with Jesus stepping away to pray alone, which he did repeatedly in his ministry. But this time he took three disciples – Peter, James and John – with him “up a high mountain,” where a supernatural manifestation occurs, at which God authenticates Jesus as his Son. This is not the first time this has happened – recall Jesus’s meeting with John the Baptist, where another cloud, a sign of divine presence, also appeared and God’s heavenly voice proclaimed Jesus as his Son.
But this time, Jesus is visibly “transfigured” – that is, changed in appearance and also in character – as the heir of, and collaborator with, Moses and Elijah.
This is a profoundly intimate moment for Jesus, and it raises lots of questions for us. Why did he allow these three disciples to witness it? Aren’t we those disciples? How then does this moment strengthen our relationship with God?
And most profoundly, what would it be like for us to encounter the fullness of God’s promises, not just in words but in the very presence of God’s prophets and God’s unmistakable voice?
Gracious God, through your Holy Spirit show us the safe way back to communal worship, but be present to us now and always as we listen for your heavenly voice telling us, “”This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”
Have a Blessed Week!