The Present Transfiguration

By: William D. Shiell

The Easter season usually presents so many good things to do. For most churches, it means planning for special services, recognizing high school and college graduates, and finishing a busy spring. Easter means discipling new converts and preparing for summer trips. For Kelly and me, it’s relocating our family from Tallahassee to Clarendon Hills. With so many good things to do in April and May, it’s easy to lose sight of the most important thing—letting Christ’s light shine through us.

Second Peter 1:16-21 reminds the church to pay careful attention to an Easter focus. The book takes a moment in Peter’s life when Jesus shone brightly—the transfiguration—and brings that event up to the present. The church is called to live the transfiguration: “shine like lights in dark places until the morning star rises in your heart.”

It’s powerful imagery. We are to live as if the transfiguration happens now. We let Jesus’ light shine through us, knowing that God’s work rises as consistently as a morning star.

That’s certainly the case in seminary education today. God is awakening women and men to hear his call. The Association of Theological Schools reports that the fastest-growing group of seminarians today are either over the age of 50 or under the age of 30. I’ve had the privilege of meeting Northern’s 20-somethings while I’ve spent my first month in Lindner Tower on the Lombard campus. On Friday evenings, we gather for fellowship; and I get the privilege of getting to know this fantastic group. They’re passionate about their ministries, obedient to God’s call, and committed to Christ’s church. And they’re nice enough to let the President pal around with them. They are a sign of God’s mercies being renewed “morning by morning” at Northern Seminary.

This community keeps me focused on the important things. The challenge for the rest of us in the church is not to be consumed with all the good things that must be accomplished in April and May. By focusing on the light that shines from Jesus’ transfiguration through today, we can show the light of Christ to others in the dark. Generations are awakening to God’s call. You can be the light that leads them home.

April 14, 2016

William D. Shiell

President, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Preaching

ABOUT William

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