Crossing Over

Crossing Over

Transfiguration Sunday, Year B

Here we are, once again, at the cusp of a change in the season. Sometimes we treat Transfiguration as if it’s the last Sunday in the season after Epiphany, a kind of exclamation point to the Ordinary Time that takes us from Epiphany to Ash Wednesday. But this year, we chose to make this a stand-alone Sunday, which is appropriate given that this day belongs not to Ordinary Time or Lent but in the liminal space between the two.

Mark 9:2-9, NIRV

Jesus’ Appearance Is Changed

2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him. He led them up a high mountain. They were all alone. There in front of them his appearance was changed. 3 His clothes became so white they shone. They were whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 Elijah and Moses appeared in front of Jesus and his disciples. The two of them were talking with Jesus.

5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters. One will be for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 Peter didn’t know what to say, because they were so afraid.

7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them. A voice came from the cloud. It said, “This is my Son, and I love him. Listen to him!”

8 They looked around. Suddenly they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

9 They came down the mountain. On the way down, Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what they had seen. He told them to wait until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Verses marked NIRV are from the New International Reader's Version (NIRV)Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Football helmet (I would suggest that you have no team represented on the helmet to avoid fan rivalry.)


(Begin with your face fully covered under the football helmet.) Today in the United States is Super Bowl Sunday. This is the day that we find out who the best professional football team is this season. Do you have a favorite football team? On the count of three, let’s all call out the name of our favorite team. One, two, three… (Allow children to respond.)

I wonder how many of you recognize me. Do you know who I am? Raise your hand if you want to guess who I am. (Let a child call your name.) Great! I am glad that you all know me, even with my face fully covered by this helmet. I think it would be difficult to recognize your favorite football player without his helmet on. You may not even know what he looks like without his uniform with the number. When I was little, I wanted to wear the same number as my favorite player. I wanted to be like my favorite player. Do you have a favorite player?

I wonder how you knew it was me if you couldn’t see my face. (Allow children to answer.) That’s right, you still can recognize my voice. You can still see how tall I am. You might recognize me by the clothes that I am wearing. You can recognize me by the way I act. Even when my face is fully covered, you still can tell who I am.

What if the only way you had ever seen me was always with this helmet over my head covering my face? What if I walked around like this all the time? But, as you recognized me, you would still get to know me. We could still talk to one another. We could still do things together, even if you couldn’t see my face. I can see through this helmet. I can see all of you, but you can’t see my face so well.

If I take the helmet off, you can see who I am more clearly. (Remove the helmet.) Did I fool anyone, or did everyone know it was me? I didn’t think that I would have fooled you.

Today is Transfiguration Sunday, That’s a huge word. Say it with me. Transfiguration. The word transfiguration means a change in looks or appearance. In today’s scripture passage, we read how Jesus took three of his closest friends, James, Peter, and John, up to the top of a mountain with him. While they were up there, something amazing happened! Before their very eyes, Jesus changed. Jesus changed from an ordinary-looking man into someone with shining clothes, like an angel. It was as if a light began to shine brightly inside Jesus. His face and body, and even his clothes, began to shine brightly. Then they saw Jesus standing next to Moses and Elijah, two incredibly famous leaders of the Jewish people—two people we learn about from our Old Testament.

This was an amazing sight! The disciples did not know what they were seeing. Was it their imagination or was it happening? This transfiguration was as if the football helmet had been pulled off and away from the face of Jesus. Suddenly the disciples began to see Jesus for who he was. They were able to see both true man and true God!

We know that Jesus joined the angels in heaven. And we know that Jesus was a teacher and prophet just like Moses and Elijah. But Jesus is more than a prophet. Jesus was more than an angel. Jesus is the son of God! That is why we should always see him for who he is and follow him! That day on the mountain, the disciples caught a better glimpse of Jesus showing them that he truly was God’s Son.

Once I removed the football helmet from my head, you caught a better glimpse of who I was. Tonight, as you watch the Super Bowl, if you do, each time you see a player remove his helmet, whether it is during an interview on television or talking to the coach, you will catch a better glimpse of his face and feel that you know him better. When we see someone clearly, we gain a better understanding of who he is. We may like that person even more and want to be more like him/her. But, more importantly, when we see Jesus more clearly, we then want to show other people how much we want to be like him!

On this Transfiguration Sunday, I wonder how you can show others how much you want to be like Jesus in everything that you do.


Jesus, help us to see others more clearly. You are even wiser than the prophets. You are more glorious than the angels. Give me ears to listen, eyes to see, and a heart to obey you. Let us always see you for who you are, God’s Son. As we see you, help us to be like you. Amen.

In This Series...

Transfiguration Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes


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In This Series...

Transfiguration Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes