Laurel Mathewson is a curate at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego.
Have you ever been inordinately annoyed by someone else's clothing? I have, and in my experience this is a classic indicator of what this week's Leviticus reading calls “hating someone in my heart.” When I'm repressing anger or frustration, I suddenly notice the hideously out-of-date belt my relative is wearing, or the way-too-short-in-every-inseam pantsuit my co-worker has on. The clothes are never the true offense, of course, but they send off alarms: time to speak up.
In Jesus' time, a rabbi's yoke was a set of teachings—that which was required of you. The Lord's "easy and gentle" yoke makes most sense to me in light of our yearning for clarity about what is essential.
My mother died on the winter solstice shortly after her 50th birthday. So I have spent a lot of time thinking about darkness and the return of the light. As I read Barbara Brown Taylor’s Learning to Walk in the Dark, I wondered if I had fallen prey to the dualistic paradigm she finds so troubling.
I thought of Russian president Vladimir Putin as I read Isaiah 45. How would he read this text? How would it read to his supporters in Ukraine?
For this Transfiguration Sunday, the preacher faces at least two temptations. The first is to move too quickly to the pastoral and personal dimensions of these texts, to consider how we, too, are transfigured by God’s love, glory and grace. And the epistle lesson does bring this theme up. But Exodus and Luke invite us to explore the nature of God’s glory itself, and it’s rewarding to focus first on these rich texts.