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Children's Homily for Last Epiphany (A), 2/19/23, Transfiguration (The Reverend Dr. Deborah White)


Good morning, everybody! Today we are going to talk about what it means to see God. Who here has seen God? (Give them a chance to answer and respond). What do you think God looks like? (Give them a chance to answer and respond). There are LOTS of ideas about what God looks like and many words we use to describe God. Who can name some of them? (Give them a chance to answer and respond). Good. Well, in TWO of the stories we read today, people actually get to see God – sort of.


The first story is about Moses. Who remembers Moses? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right. Moses was a prophet and a leader of God’s people a very long time ago. In this story, God tells Moses to go up on a mountain so that God can give something to Moses. And when Moses goes up on the mountain, he sees God.(Give them a chance to answer and respond). Now, luckily for Moses, he didn’t see God face-to-face because that might be dangerous. First there was a cloud, and then Moses had to cover his face, because to Moses God looked like a big fire that was so bright it made Moses’s face all red. (Give them a chance to respond). I know! That was probably scary.


In today’s other story about seeing God, Jesus takes his friends up a mountain. Now, this story is a little different, because Moses had never seen God, but Jesus’s friends saw him every day. Instead of seeing something like Moses did, on that day, when they got up to the top of the mountain, they saw Jesus transfigured before them. Who knows what “transfigured” means? (Give them a chance to answer and respond). That’s right – it means to change – like in the Harry Potter stories when some of the wizards change into animals, they call it “Transfiguration.” (Give them a chance to answer and respond). But in Jesus’s case, he didn’t turn into an animal, he turned into …. who knows? (Give them a chance to answer and respond). He turned into God.

They knew this because he was like a bright shiny light – just like God had looked to Moses when Moses saw God. And they knew Jesus had turned into God for two other reasons. Do you know what they were? (Give them a chance to answer and respond). They knew because two ghosts showed up and stood next to Jesus. They were very important ghost people. Who knows who they were? (Give them a chance to answer and respond). Good. Moses – who we already know saw God himself -and Elijah, who was a famous prophet who had told people that God was going to come to help the people. So, what do you think they thought when they saw Moses and Elijah? (Give them a chance to answer and respond). That’s right – that Jesus was important too. In fact, it meant that Jesus was MORE important than they were because he looked like God. Who knows the other reason they knew that Jesus was special? (Give them a chance to answer and respond). That’s right – because God spoke to them and told them that Jesus was God’s son. So, Jesus looked like God, and he was friends with famous ghosts and God said he was God’s son. So, how do you think they felt about this? (Give them a chance to answer and respond). That’s right. They were scared! And they were confused! Because they knew that there was only one God and here was their friend who also seemed to be God. (Give them a chance to answer and respond).


This part is complicated because we are not sure how God does all of things God does, but we know that, even though Jesus was a normal person when he lived with his friends, inside he was made of the same special light as God. Does anyone know the word for being part of God? (Give them a chance to answer and respond). It’s called being “divine” - and we believe that Jesus was divine and this is how Jesus’s friends found out that Jesus was divine.

Now, here’s the other important part of the story. We are part of God too because God made us. That means that there is just a little bit of the same beautiful, shining light – divinity - in us – and, if we try very hard and we look very carefully at one another, we can see a little divinity in each other too. Do you think you could do that? Do you think you could let your light shine so that others can see God’s light in you? (Give them a chance to answer). And will you look really hard to see God’s light in other people? (Give them a chance to answer). Do we agree? (Give them a chance to answer). And what do we say in church when we agree? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right. AMEN.

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