This Sunday we will celebrate Jesus' transfiguration. It's another holiday when you won't get a greeting card. Even those of us used to odd, mostly unrecognized church days don't have cards for this one. Maybe I'll start a line. A blindingly bright outside with the greeting inside, "Have a dazzling Transfiguration Sunday" or "Jesus is really bright. Listen to him." We'll see.
"Listen to him" is about as good a to-do as we can take from Mark 9:2-8. (Listen implies obedience not just hearing.) But, clearly, listening to Jesus is the conclusion that is drawn from celebrating his uniquely other-worldliness. He dazzled brightly in a way that this world had never experienced and ranked above the best this world has ever known. If the disciples with him when he was transfigured weren't sure why they should listen, his brightness, his relationship to Moses and Elijah, and the Father's voice of approval were meant to be convincing.
We will celebrate this unusual event Sunday. It will conclude the season of Epiphany. The Transfiguration story will be on our minds, but both sermons will draw from a related text: 2 Corinthians 4:3-6. A fitting conclusion to a season that reflects on light and darkness and that introduces us to the glory of Jesus, this part of Paul's letter to Corinthians uses words like "glory" and "shine" and encourages us to be "slaves for Jesus' sake."
The natural result of recognizing Jesus' glory is to seek to reflect it. Our best moments of reflection come when we break free of being slaves to the gods of this world (including the god of self) and willingly embrace being servants of Jesus. You know, when we listen to him.