Transfiguration Sunday

Why Do We Celebrate It Before Lent?

Adapted from an article by Dan Benedict, Jr. of GBOD


United Methodists celebrate Transfiguration on the last Sunday after the Epiphany - the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.  We will be celebrating Transfiguration Sunday on February 10, 2013.

On this Sunday we celebration the time when Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.  And while he was praying, the appearance of Jesus' face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.  Suddenly Peter, Jaohn, and James saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.  The men appeared in glory and were speaking of Jesus' departure, which was about to be accomplished in Jerusalem...It was on this mountain top that a voice once again announced, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"


We celebrate the revelation of Christ's glory "before the passion" so that we may "be strengthened to bear our cross and be changed into his likeness." The focus of the Lenten season is renewed discipline in walking in the way of the cross and rediscovery of the baptismal renunciation of evil and sin and our daily adherence to Christ.

In the biblical context, the synoptic gospels narrate the Transfiguration as a bridge between Jesus' public ministry and his passion. From the time of the Transfiguration, Jesus sets his face to go to Jerusalem and the cross.

"Copyright General Board of Discipleship. Used by permission."



The word epiphany means an appearance or manifestation, particularly of a divine being––or an illuminating discovery, especially one that comes unexpectedly.


Epiphany marks the first manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles. It signals that God loves Gentiles as well as Jews––that God's plan of salvation includes Gentiles too. 


Epiphany is a celebration of the breaking down of dividing walls––the end of hostilities between groups of people (Ephesians 2:14). Epiphany challenges us to reconsider all the people whom we see as outside the boundaries of God's love. It challenges us to abandon our tribalism (racially, nationally, denominationally, etc.) and to expand our reach welcoming even those whom we would prefer not to love. It is a burning issue, because loving those outside our comfort zone is difficult, but Christ makes it possible. That is the Epiphany message.


We celebrate Epiphany on January 6 (or the nearest Sunday)




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