Sermon for Sunday, February 27, 2022 


Transfiguration of Our Lord – Last Sunday after Epiphany 


Rev. Amy Zalk Larson

Good  Shepherd Lutheran Church    Decorah, Iowa


Click to read scripture passages for the day.


Beloved of God, grace to you and peace in the name of Jesus.


Peter and his companions were, quote, “weighed down with sleep”, and almost missed out. 

They almost slept through a transformative, mountaintop experience with Jesus, Moses, and

Elijah, three key players in the whole story of God. They might have totally missed the presence

of God.


We, too, are so often weighed down, especially right now. Worries, exhaustion, the news of the day  – it all feels incredibly heavy. There is so much that presses hard upon our hearts and spirits. We’re also just plain physically weighed down with all our heavy coats and socks and boots whenever we want to leave our house. The best part of spring is being able to just walk out the door without ten minutes of preparation. Often to cope with it all, we just go numb. We trudge through the snow, scroll through social media, eat mindlessly, consume way too much news.


But what do we miss when we’re so weighed down? How often do we miss experiencing the pres- ence of God? After all, Moses and Jesus aren’t the only people who shine with God’s glory. As St. Irenaeus put it, the glory of God is a human fully alive. Whenever we encounter someone using their gifts, doing what brings joy, showing love to others, we see a human fully alive and we see God. It isn’t just on the mountaintop or with very spiritual people that we encounter the presence of God. Each person on earth is created in the image of God. Each person we meet can give us a glimpse of the face of God. All of creation is brimming with God’s goodness, full of God’s very life.


Yet so often we move through life in a stupor – groggy and oblivious to the joy, the gifts, the wis- dom, the love all around us. We overlook the presence of God among us. We don’t want to just sleepwalk through our days. We don’t want to miss the love on a family member’s face because 

our eyes are fixed on Facebook. We want to be awake and alive. But how?


Maybe we’re just too bogged down with the daily grind. Maybe if we could just get away from it all for a while, just take a break from the routine to get some perspective, then we’d be more aware of the presence of God. That is an important practice: retreats, vacations, and days of Sabbath rest are so good and needed. 


Yet in our story today, Peter, James, and John were given some time away. They had the chance to go up on the mountain, to get away from it all, to see things differently. Still, they were weighed down with sleep. Still, they almost slept through God showing up.

So, maybe rather than waiting for mountaintop experiences, we need to approach daily life differ- ently. We’re often advised that we should be more attentive, live in the present moment, be more grateful. Yes, of course. Yet often advice, even good advice, can keep us fixated on ourselves. Am I doing this right? Am I doing enough? How do I seem to others?

To be awake and alive, we need more than a change of scenery, more than better guidance. We need God. On our own, we’re curved in on ourselves: focused on all our struggles, failings, worries and shortcomings, how we look, how we’re doing. That makes it so hard to lift our weary heads to look around and pay attention to the presence of God in our world and in those we meet. We get weighed down with it all. We need God to break through to us, to wake us up and set us free.

The disciples on the mountain needed God to not just show up, but to get through to them. They needed God to speak right to them. We need that as well. And this is what God does. We don’t get

a booming voice from a cloud, but we do get God’s word spoken directly for us, for you. God 

speaks to us through scripture, preaching and sacraments, through music, and other people.

God says to you, Listen to me.

You are mine, you are loved, you are forgiven, you are enough, you are not alone.

Your life is held in me; you need not fear.

You can look up, wake up, see me everywhere.

You can help others to know my love and my presence.

You have all that you need.


Yet, even after God spoke to the disciples on the mountain, they still didn’t really get it. They need- ed God to keep speaking to them in the person of Jesus, in the gathered community, in the Holy Spirit. God does the same for us. God keeps on keeping on to get through to us when we’re wide awake and alert, when we’re grumpy and tired. God doesn’t stop speaking words of challenge and promise, no matter how many times we tune out or overlook God’s presence. 


The glory of God is a human fully alive, fully awake.

It is God who awakens and enlivens us.

God is here today, for you, for us all.