Mardis Gras on the Mountaintop: A Transfiguration Sermon


Luke 9:28 Now about eight days after saying, “23…If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 (About eight days after saying) For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. 25 (About eight days after saying) What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? 26 (About eight days after saying) Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Woman will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of my Father and of the holy angels. 27 (And about eight days after saying) But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the reign of God,” ­– about eight days after saying these things, Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.

Laissez les bon temps rouler! Let the good times roll. It’s Mardi Gras, Carnival, time. It was Mardi Gras on the mountaintop. Peter, James and John had stumbled into one heck of a party. There were strobe lights and sound effects and VIP gatecrashers. Perhaps there was even the sound of a heavenly brass band. And Peter didn’t want the party to stop. He didn’t want to come down from that mountain. He didn’t want to go back into the world below, that cold, hard, ugly world from which he came. He wanted to stay in the rarefied air of that little mountain. Perhaps, looking out over the Nazareth Valley in Galilee he recalled when Moses looked out over Canaan from Mount Nebo. I bet, he thought to himself, Moses didn’t want to come down from his mountain either. Because Moses wasn’t going into the Promised Land; in fact, he died on his mountain. It’s Mardi Gras when people live life at a frenetic pace because we remember that life is attended by death. Somewhere in the carnival crowds Baron Samedi and the angel of death await. The full text and an audio file are available here.