“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19–21, ESV)
Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:78-79, KJV)
In both our Holy Scriptures and our contemporary speech, the stark contrast between light and darkness is everywhere. For example, when we talk about going through a painful period we say “I was in a very dark place”. There are too many examples in the Bible to list but one is John 3:19, “And the judgment is based on this fact: God's light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” Earlier in John, we read that the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. From Advent to Transfiguration, while the days are short, we think much about the Light of Christ. In the short days of winter, we in the church have a strong sense of our need for this Light. The following is just one stanza from one hymn that acknowledges, or rather pleads, for this Light:
Visit, then, this soul of mine;
pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
fill me, Radiancy divine;
scatter all my unbelief;
more and more thyself display,
shining to the perfect day.
The challenge for preachers on Transfiguration Sunday is to translate this epiphany into a way that might truly pierce the postmodern consciousness. This gets at the heart of what is needed in seminary education today. Seminarians need to be taught how to understand the text before them as the people would have originally heard it, then be able to scan and understand the contemporary, cultural horizon, and holding those two things together proclaim the Law and Gospel. And it needs to be done in such a way that people of different ages and perspectives hear it as truth for them. What a job the preacher has! Let us pray for those preaching this Sunday and for those learning to preach and for those who teach them. We would thank you for praying for ILT in your own words, now and as often as the Lord would lead you. God bless.